Author: O.H. Bennett
Everything about Recognition by O.H. Bennett is out of the ordinary. There is the extraordinary writing, a fusion of literary and thriller. There is the plot that grabs your curiosity and forces you to read on. Minor details (the comic books, birds) turn out to be meaningful symbols. Even the lay-out of the book is unusual with the chapters beginning sometimes on the backsides of pages and even in the middle of the page.
We’ve all seen the homeless holding up cardboard signs. What if one of them happened to be a long-lost relative, one that you had presumed dead ten years ago? It’s a fascinating question, and that is exactly what happens to the protagonist, Dana, while she is driving home from her job as a school teacher one dark and rainy night. She looks straight into the face of the man she was married to. Just then the light turns and she is forced to drive on, but she circles back just as soon as she can. By that time, the man is gone.
Was he her husband or did she make a mistake? She has to know; and thus begins her quest to uncover what really happened the night of the accident a decade ago. Did Reynolds survive their car plunged into the river? Everyone says it was impossible, that she has to accept reality and move on. That is, everyone except for her husband’s mother and sister. But then, they would be emotionally biased.
I found myself pulled into the story and read well into the night. I love when that happens, and it’s not easy finding those books.
Bennett writes with extraordinary insight. How does an African-American man capture the personality and thoughts of a Caucasian woman so well? Somehow, he does.
Personally, I found myself challenged to figure out when certain scenes were taking place. The story segues between Dana and Reynolds’ dating years, their early marriage, the time of the accident, and the present without any verbal clues. Studies have shown that reading literary fiction is good exercise for the mind, so I accepted the challenge in a good spirit, even if I became slightly confused at times.
Race is a minor factor in the story, but it is there. I found myself wondering if Dana was white or black at first. Then when I thought I’d figured it out, I discovered that was wrong. I don’t know if the author intentionally wrote it that way or not.
Sensitive readers should know there are occasional R-rated sex scenes and some swearing.
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