Monday, June 29, 2020


Hey everyone!  Today I have a review for the freshly-released novel These Nameless Things by Shawn Smucker -- in fact, it just came out today!  But before I get into my review, check out some info on the novel as well as Smucker.


Before Dan opened his door to find a wounded woman who had escaped from the tormentors in the mountain, his life had become rather quiet.  He and the eight other people in the mostly abandoned town had become friends.  They spent peaceful evenings around the campfire and even made vague plans to journey east one day and leave the ominous mountain behind.  

But the woman's arrival changes everything.  Who is she?  How does she know so much about Dan's brother, who is still held captive in the mountain?  Why are long-forgotten memories rising to the surface?  And why does Dan feel so compelled to keep her presence in his house a secret?

Visionary writer Shawn Smucker is back with an unsettling story that invites us to consider two challenging questions: to what lengths will we go to assuage our own guilt?  Is there a limit to the things we will do for the people we love?  

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(Also, look at that cover!  It's gorgeous.)  

Shawn Smucker  is the award-winning author of Light from Distant Stars, the young adult novels The Day the Angels Fell and The Edge of Over There, and the memoir Once We Were Strangers.  He lives with his wife and six children in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  You can find him online at  


I can't really think of much to say that won't spoil this novel!  My goodness.  But I can say that it's an awesome blend of Dante's Inferno and Cormac McCarthy's The Road, with a very original twist.  While I had my suspicions about these characters and their condition from the start, I never cemented any particular idea in my mind until the  reality of the situation was revealed toward the end of the novel.  The book itself is very ethereal; otherworldly.  You can never quite get a grasp on whether the setting is real or not, and it's exactly supposed to be that way.  It's a book that you have to get comfortable with not knowing, with being uncomfortable, because it's supposed to be that way.  That took a bit of getting used to for me, especially as the book progressed past the first several chapters, but it's a stroke of genius.  It's also a book that requires a re-read after you've finished it the first time; you'll probably pick up on a lot of things after you get the full picture.  And while it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger (as far as I know, it's a standalone), it's very fitting.  These Nameless Things follows the main character, Dan, in first-person POV, meaning that we learn about this setting - where east is an inevitable unknown and the mountains hold untold horrors that no one can quite remember - through his eyes, as he recalls certain bits of information and learns more himself.  I have to say that while this one took a bit of getting used to, I ended up loving the twist toward the end and everything started to fall into place at that point.  You'll also want to stick around for the author's note at the end.  When all is said and done, this novel is thought-provoking, nicely written with stark descriptions and a genius plot, and a sense of mystery that will keep your attention from the start.


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