Paul G. Swingle
Independently Published (2021)
Reviewed by Lily Andrews for Reader Views (11/2022)
“Silhouette” by acclaimed writer and Psychologist Paul G. Swingle is an intelligently lucid novel that takes a keen look at the impacts of anxiety and depression through two fictional characters, Jim and Gladys. Jim, a widower and real estate lawyer with his private law firm, trudges through his days with little enthusiasm, and his only source of comfort is walking his dog, Gus, every night. Gladys, on the other hand, is a healthcare provider living alone in her apartment but struggling with feelings of depression and self-hate.
Both spot each other, with Gladys appearing on the rooftop like the silhouette of an umbrella, making Jim initially wonder whether her image is real or a fragment of his mind. Each is inspired to speak to the other, but their fears, anxieties, and past experiences create a strong barrier. While they both seem to describe their life stories to each other, neither one can hear the other because of the distance between them. It is often the most trivial incidents that change the world while the grandest of ventures pass into insignificance. Will their pensive soliloquies develop into a deep connection, or will their feelings of gloom and inadequacies limit their communication and pass into oblivion?
Written in the first person narrative, “Silhouette” voyeurs through each of the two protagonists showcasing their emotions, quirks, personalities, and longing, thus creating a terrific character study that is both arresting and entertaining. Swingle’s oeuvre offers a resplendent feast for the body, heart, and spirit. Its evocative and poetic language highlights one of the complex turmoil facing modern-day society. It manages to invoke empathy, appraisal, understanding, and reflection in a deeply stoic manner.
It takes natural talent for an author to make a fictional narrative appear to be a real-life story. Author Swingle is a literary maestro in this as the story appears to be part biography, part memoir, and part meditation on our times. This masterful storytelling is what gives the book a high poise and keeps readers glued to the very end. Writing about two entirely different characters with parallel backgrounds and then interweaving them into one plot is a daunting endeavor for any author. Single manages to capture this adroitly.
“Silhouette” by Paul G. Swingle is a genuinely touching five-star read that is bound to tug at the heartstrings of every reader. It draws into consciousness the power of delving into the unfamiliar.