Pale Highway by Nicholas Conley

March 2, 2016
Book Review, InToriLex, Pale Highway, Nicholas Conley
FOUR POINT FIVE STARS
Pale Highway
Gabriel Schist is spending his remaining years at Bright New Day, a nursing home. He once won the Nobel Prize for inventing a vaccine for AIDS. But now, he has Alzheimer’s, and his mind is slowly slipping away.

When one of the residents comes down with a horrific virus, Gabriel realizes that he is the only one who can find a cure. Encouraged by Victor, an odd stranger, he convinces the administrator to allow him to study the virus. Soon, reality begins to shift, and Gabriel’s hallucinations interfere with his work.

As the death count mounts, Gabriel is in a race against the clock and his own mind. Can he find a cure before his brain deteriorates past the point of no return?

REVIEW:

A mixture of fantasy and insightful self reflection, this was a great read. Gabriel is trying to piece together who he was and hold on to what's left of his mind at the end of his life. The novel flashes through his past describing pivotal decisions and experiences, while he's faced with the present. The book makes you think about getting old, which while uncomfortable is sobering. Gabriel has to come to terms with his responsibility and decision making before he loses his mind, while conversing and grappling with talking slugs.
"Death was the reward. That was perhaps the greatest punishment of all and evilest mockery."
Recognizing his genius while being afraid of the responsibility of it, Gabriel has to accept his past as it was, knowing  that he is beyond being able to fix it. At over seventy he is still learning who he is and why it's important. The people that he loves has continually tried to get him to look past his tendency to self destruct, but his decisions while trying to cure the virus remain stubborn and self serving. The nursing home friends that he describes are strong individuals who at the end of their life are finding their own ways to show their strength. The stubbornness and odd requests are their last versions of autonomy. The talking slugs and the mysterious Victor whether real or not, guide Gabriel to a final confrontation with himself.
"Dignity comes from walking that road from one day to the next, knowing that things might get worse and that everything you love might be taken away from you, yest persevering anyway and never surrendering who you are."
The book does a great job of making you realize how important and fulfilling it is, to accept who you are despite of the consequences. Gabriel tirelessly searches for a cure to the black virus and the process described could only be fueled by a brilliant mind. The science involving the immune system and the black virus was believable, and I enjoyed thinking through it. I did get emotional at times thinking of how helpless Gabriel felt at certain points in the book. The only reason this isn't five stars is because the beginning started off a bit slow, but led to a engaging and worthwhile read. I would recommend this to fans of fantasy who can handle a frank and emotionally impactful look at getting old and death.

This e-book was provided to me by the Author in exchange for an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicholas Conley's passion for storytelling began at an early age, prompted by a love of science fiction novels, comic books, and horror movies. His novel Pale Highway is influenced by his experience working with Alzheimer's patients in a nursing home, a subject that he has also written about for publications such as Vox. When not busy writing, Nicholas spends his time reading, traveling to new places, and indulging in a lifelong coffee habit.

In order to better establish himself on the planet Earth, Nicholas has currently made his home in New Hampshire. More information on Nicholas can be found on his website, www.NicholasConley.com.

6 comments:

  1. Wow this sounds really good! I like the sound of the book mixing fantasy with reality about Alzheimer's. I'm definitely adding this one to my to read list!

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    Replies
    1. Yes it was a great read, that I'm glad was put on my radar!!

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  2. Replies
    1. I'm glad you should definitely check it out!!

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  3. Not really my type of read but thanks for this honest review!

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    Replies
    1. It definitely would be limited to certain taste, but maybe you could take a chance!

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