What is it about a book that makes you want to read it? Is it the genre? Is it the cover that gets you to buy the book? The brief synopsis on the back? Or are you just familiar with the author and love their work?
As an avid reader and lover of both fiction and nonfiction books, I appreciate when I encounter a book that makes me think, emotional, and even a little bit scared. I mean, we want to feel something when we are reading, right? I hate having spent my money on a book that wasn’t worth it. Luckily, David I. Aboulafia’s “Visions Through a Glass, Darkly” doesn’t disappoint. “Visions of a Glass, Darkly” will definitely make you question things, disagree with some of what is written, but most of all, appreciate that he took his time to deliver a piece of literature that takes its readers on a journey.
Richard Goodman is the main character, and as the story unfolds, you learn about his life, but most importantly, you learn and find out how his work as an administrator for The Waterman School of Watchmaking for people with disabilities in the City of New York intertwines with his personal life causing all of those around him to meet their demise in some way or another.
Various scenes throughout the book could be applied to real-life situations, such as Aboulafia’s vivid description of the people with disabilities who attend this school, their involvement with watchmaking, their stories and how they ended up attending this particular school.
“By design, the school is filled with students possessing a variety of physical disabilities. Some came to their fate through that wheel of chance called genetics, crushed by the irreversible weight of their aberrant DNA. Others are simply casualties of their fatal choices; mangled and torn asunder by car accidents or gunshot wounds,” he writes.
Aboulafia’s novel is a chilling read, and at times will anger you with the way his main character, Richard Goodman, describes people with disabilities as “casualties of a disinterested god, who on one fine morning elected to umpire a cosmic game of softball, and simply took his eye off the ball for a time.”
While in the same sentiment will have the reader questioning certain situations about their own life when he states things like, “That one day, each of us will come face to face with the unavoidable end of our lives. It is the nightmare that silently trails us, the horror that ultimately consumes us, and the great terror that we loath to face. But what if we were to face it? What if we confronted the demons we have spent a lifetime pushing into the deepest recess of our brains?”
“Visions of a Glass Darkly” is definitely unconventional, at times humorous and sarcastic, and also engaging. It is filled with suspense, has a mysterious mystic about it, but also a realness bringing to life certain elements within the book that at times make what you read seem to be a reality rather than a work of fiction. Aboulafia’s work is for those of you who love a suspenseful novel and don’t mind the unconventional and unexpected. You like how it brings you to question things about life or why and how certain situations take place within this book. What you will find by reading “Visions Through a Glass, Darkly” is, as Aboulafia puts it, “Nothing is as it appears to be. Before you read, make sure your door is locked and listen carefully for any sound at the threshold.”