Osi’s intricate plot will appeal to aficionados of the experimental thriller in his unusual mix of individual stories.
The Moondust Sonatas, by Alan Osi, is a high-concept immersion into the underworld of illegal drugs, portraying an eccentric cast of characters on the path to addiction and life-altering madness.
Destructive, yet strangely illuminating, an illicit powder allows the user to interact with a supernatural god, as well as travel to places and times unknown. The “trips” described on the pages of this hypnotic, yet incredibly frightening, novel bring to mind LSD and hallucinogenic mushrooms. Though initially focused on Percival, a Brooklyn DJ, the plot launches in countless directions, snagging people along the way. The narration shifts to many different viewpoints, but each victim of this mysterious, potent dust believes that an altered state of consciousness may lead to experiences unattainable in the mundane course of daily existence. Faced with moral conflict, as well as a delusional form of heaven, these protagonists follow a dangerous itinerary with the anticipated drug dealers in pursuit.
Presented in stylistic vignettes, often choppy and disorienting, the book could be the foundation for a screenplay. The cut-in, cut-out effect does not seem appropriate for a novel. This bouncy ride, however, does not detract from Osi’s attention-holding technique, which is skilled and quite sophisticated. Difficult to put down, puzzling, and disturbing, this jarring thriller takes a trite situation and somehow manages to make it fresh.
An introspective and simultaneously visual writer, Osi’s use of language rivets and binds the reluctant observer to the scary progression of events. In this passage, a journalist describes the moondust user while under the influence: “His eyes rolled back into his head, darting as if in REM sleep. On his lips were half-formed words from another tongue. His hands twitched, drool spilled from his slackened lips. This was not a seizure. This was moondust, the latest and most dangerous designer drug that is now taking New York by storm.” In other scenes, Osi invokes a subtle, even gentle, muse that projects the misconception that this creepy tripping experience is a good one.
Alan Osi earned a psychology degree from Morehouse College. His knowledge of human behavior informs his work, and he infuses his characters with lifelike personality traits.
Similar to sixties-style freewheeling, as well as contemporary attitudes present in societies throughout the world, The Moondust Sonatas realistically depicts a culture that exists even among intellectuals who believe that achieving enlightenment involves swallowing, inhaling, or injecting a drug into some part of the body (moondust is dropped into the eye). Osi’s intricate plot will appeal to aficionados of the experimental thriller in his unusual mix of individual stories, comparable to diary entries. Presented in a fast-paced format, this riveting book is sure to capture a broad audience.
Julia Ann Charpentier
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