but as he matures he is drawn further into his conflicted, disturbing, and often beautiful vision of the world.
When his family moves to a small town, Ezra's conflict with the moral system and religion he is surrounded by intensifies. A charismatic new friend soon leads him into a world of crime and dangerous taboos. The Christian God, as well as his father, haunts Ezra as he wrestles with the temptations of this dark new path. Is the dreamy image of his mother somehow leading him toward liberation, or is this spectre the symptom of an impending psychiatric breakdown?
Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall. Only an act of shameful impiety offers Ezra Mignon escape and eventual salvation.
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.63(d)|
About the Author
Following his university football career, he signed a contract with the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes. Shortly after, a serious illness and personal upheaval changed the course of his life.
In 2000, Chuck accepted a teaching contract and moved to Syros, Greece. Here he travelled and studied the works of Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell,
Friedrich Nietzsche, and James Joyce.
Chuck currently works as a teacher and lives in Brampton, Ontario with his wife Lesley and their children.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Goodreads summary of Chuck Crabbe's As a Thief in the Night strongly suggests that religion plays a significant role in the plot: The Christian God . . . haunts Ezra. . . . Only an act of shameful impiety offers Ezra Mignon escape and eventual salvation. But can he betray, and even murder, the God that his community worships? And can he live with the divine blood on his hands? Nothing could be further from the truth. As a Thief in the Night is a rather pedestrian coming of age tale. The "act of shameful impiety," is dealt with casually, by both Crabbe and his characters. Ezra's vision of the world is described as "conflicted, disturbing, and often beautiful," but the revelation of this vision through his dreams and fantasies is actually the weakest part of the book and is too disjointed to add true depth to his character. I was particularly annoyed by Crabbe's effort to be cute in naming the Anglican bishop who presides over Ezra's confirmation, Bishop Wrychuss. Wrychuss = Righteous. Get it? Ugh. Crabbe can write beautifully on occasion, as in this spot-on description of the teachers chaperoning Ezra and his classmates on a graduation trip to Boston: "With their schedules and routines they manage to suck the life out of history giving the students no hands-on experience, no opportunity for exploration, and only a stale story full of dead words." There are not enough of these gems, however, to elevate As a Thief in the Night above average or to offset some significant plot holes. I received a free copy of As a Thief in the Night through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review.
This great novel is a classical Bildungsroman by a writer who demonstrates a gift for narrative in an early novel. The story is about the coming of age of Ezra Mignon but in this layered narrative there is more to discover beneath the straight-ahead, story line. In early novels one tends to find an extremely well defined central character and then peripheral characters less finely drawn who rotate in and out and around the central figure. In later novels the central figure tends almost to disappear and the peripheral figures become more prominent in the narrative. However, in an endeavor like a Bildungsroman the central figure must be well drawn and I was impressed with the nuance which Chuck Crabbe brought into the characters who were finely drawn with their own unique aspects, which made them appealing, intriguing and realistic in their portrayal. I gather that Nietzsche was an influence upon Crabbe and beneath the storyline a careful reader could pick-up the play between Apollo and Dionysus from Nietzsche's profound work, "The Birth of Tragedy." Both of these mythic figures play prominently in the life of Ezra Mignon in the sensual life of music and dance on the vineyard among the wine, grapes and "cabras" so reflective of Dionysus and the drive for the achievement of enlightenment, discipline, order and precision, especially in athletic endeavors demanded by Apollonian pressures of life. Ezra is continually torn between the desire for order and discipline, and his desire for freedom, abandonment and sensual pursuits. It was this deeper layer of the novel that made this book sing for me. There were many other Nietzschean themes in the book including the iconoclastic necessity of "breaking of the old tablets" so that the new tablets could be written. At times Ezra Mignon seemed to be a contemporary rendering of a young, Canadian Zarathustra. Crabbe's narrative style invokes dream sequences, which I found highly credible in my reading of them: such narratives engage the reader in an intimate way by bringing the reader into the interior consciousness of a character and these passages are difficult to write in a convincing way because the progress of dreams is both swift and difficult to capture for translation outside the dream itself. However, I found that the dream sequences and the brief stream of consciousness worked well in this novel. Most importantly, I was very much impressed by the pure gift of expression in the narrative style to offer a realistic, nuanced and penetrating account of the life of a young athlete in Ontario trying to find his way in life among the distractions and temptations which tend to take one off-target and the self-assertion toward life affirming aspects of life. The writing is beautiful throughout the novel as it was a joy to read just for the sake of the gift for portrayal and the simple, honest and intelligent literary style of the writing. This book was shows considerable promise in things to come from Chuck Crabbe: I shall follow this gifted young writer's career with interest and look forward to his next novel.