This book is not for everyone.
'Lost in Infinity' is a novel that many readers will find hard to define. In fact, it's much easier to list what it is most definitely not, than what it really is. It's not necessarily a tale of suspense or a thriller. It's not a mystery by normal standards. It's not inspirational, romantic or full of laughs. Depending upon your perspective and final take on the tale, it's not even entirely fiction.
This book is not for everyone. 'Lost in Infinity' is a novel intended for a very specific audience...
The author would have you believe this is a "psychological roller coaster wrapped in the factual memoir of a chronic insomniac suffering from apeirophobia (the fear of infinity)." He would go on to explain that the "novel unfolds the history of his life as he tries to unlock repressed memories through a near schizophrenic relationship with his own splintered subconscious." This is a clever ruse to suck in his niche reader. This book is not for everyone.
Influenced by Chuck Palahniuk, Kurt Vonnegut and Carlton Mellick III, the novel offers a unique look into the private confessions of a self-absorbed blogger on the precipice of a mental breakdown. The recurring theme of d�j� vu leads you through the work giving glimpses of a dark past while offering anecdotes that will eerily relate to most readers. Mixing in humor and satire with a confused childhood spent under the microscope of therapists keeps the mood light while he digs deeper into his past looking for the root of his problems. The narrator pulls back the curtain and reveals his dark inner turmoil as he fears a slow deliberate path toward schizophrenia. A repetition of events and recollections leads the reader through the twisted break the author fears while touching on life's everyday issues and questions. He delves into sleepless nights, stress, relationships and the pitfalls of education and careers while he openly offers opinions on religion, suicide, insomnia, depression and the meaning of life.
Many casual readers will be turned off by the jumping timeline. Some will be confused by the author's back and forth focus on his missing memories. The first person pseudo-oral narrative will leave others simply frustrated. The rest will grow sick of the author's defense mechanisms, most often hiding behind his pretentious recollections of growing up a childhood 'genius'. This book is not for everyone.
Now that you've been properly warned and many have moved on to their next light read...
'Lost in Infinity' is part social commentary, part psychological mystery and part diary. What begins as an egotistical journal from an overconfident, yet anti-social, bratty blogger slowly dissolves into the twisted chaos of a mind on the brink of collapse. The reader is eventually forced to decide if the book is a cry for help from a man attempting to rationalize his schizophrenia or a clever ruse to make them stop and contemplate the meaning of existence. Lost in Infinity' will leave the reader questioning everything they thought they knew about the author's sanity, about their own life, about existence and the infinite universe beyond.
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Wise Bear Books Reviews Lost in Infinity by Travis Besecker Lost in Infinity has moments of brilliance punctuated by sheer frustration. The book's lengthy summary does its best to simultaneously attract and deter all but serious readers. Clearly, this novel isn't for everyone as it's an exercise in patience, wading through the unconventional structure and repetitious literary progression. However, there's a method to Besecker's madness as the concept of déjà vu is a key theme and plot device. Travis suffers from chronic insomnia, which brings the added bonus of a variety of other emotional and social debilitating behaviors and phobias including a fear of infinity, or apeiraphobia in psychiatric terms. We've all experienced occasional restless nights of sleep, and you might think you understand what it means to be an insomniac; but the severity and ultimate consequences of not being able to sleep for days, weeks, or even months until your body literally shuts down, is inconceivable. Diagnosed at the age of seven, Travis has had to cope with his condition for nearly three decades. It's impossible not to feel tremendous compassion for this young boy who copes by sneaking 20-minute cat naps several times a day and then must endure the nightly terror of a shadow presence who only serves to ratchet up Travis's fear of vast nothingness. Travis's condition is exacerbated by his genius-level intellect, which causes him to question, protest and defy anyone he believes intellectually incompetent. There is a fine line between madness and brilliance, and Travis is a ticking time bomb. It takes years for Travis's concerned parents to understand the severity of their son’s condition, but eventually he connects with Katherine, a psychiatrist who manages to bear up fairly well under Travis's constant challenging behavior. Each chapter begins with a small glimpse into their sessions together. Katherine has given Travis a red spiral notebook for journaling, which she reviews at the beginning of each of their sessions. The problem—Travis is neither cooperative nor forthcoming in their exploratory work together. Travis's highly-gifted intellect eventually propels him into a variety of creative career fields with reasonable success. He is married and father to two boys who seem to have elements of his own condition. It's important to note that while other characters exist in this book, they are mostly referential in nature, as the spotlight is always squarely on Travis and his delicate psyche. As an adult, he seems to have managed his condition quite well. At 30, his life begins to spiral out of control into a tornado of depression and self-destructive behavior. Travis is on the verge of a psychotic break, which is a crucial element to revealing the story's ending. In general, the novel reads like a memoir until you get 90% through—that's when the plot twists kick in, leaving no doubt about the fictional fusion with the author's reality. The debatable creation of the book's content made for lively discussion amongst our collaborative review team. How much of the content is autobiographical? Could or does this really happen to genius-level insomniacs? We can't offer any definitive answers, but you can be sure this story is truly thought provoking. Lost in Infinity has a lot of good things working for it. The story is unique and evokes a broad range of emotions and lasting reactions from readers. It's easy to get invested in Travis's dilemma and hard to forget the psychological impact of the story. You'll want to help fix this poor kid's circumstances, but Lost in Infinity is not that kind of novel. Readers will be pushed to confront many of their own black fantasies in the context of the novel's circular time looping quality. Stylistically, Lost in Infinity is a wonderful avant-garde achievement. Although plot and time lines may shift in confusing and unexpected ways, the abrupt nature of the structure is merely echoing the conflict within Travis. The real triumph of this book is that readers will actually share in the frustration of fictional Travis as Besecker's writing immerses readers into this fascinating yet uncomfortable story. The all-important title and cover are outstanding. The front cover concept is based on Travis's red spiral journaling notebook with terrified drawings of his shadowy tormentor. Too often, book covers don't reflect the essence of the author's story, but Besecker's cover and title work in perfect partnership with book's plot as well as its summary. The book has a Stephen King-esque feel about it. Like King, Besecker is clearly a lover of psychological terror. The only thing missing from this book is some blood and gore and then you'd have a full blown horror novel. Our only minor dissatisfaction comes from the story's ending, or lack thereof, as it seemed contrary to the course and direction of the first 90% of the book. The final twist abruptly moves the story out of its sweet spot, the concept of infinite nothingness, into an explanation that felt a little forced and random. We get what the author was going for or maybe we were just waiting and hoping for a good old slasher scene, but the conclusion didn't resonate with us as much as we'd hoped. That said, the final twist didn't dislodge our overall praise for this innovative literary work. And we love that the author wisely fictionalized his personal struggles rather than trying to write a memoir and have readers call into question so many of the surreal details of being a chronic insomniac. Lost in Infinity has moments of brilliance punctuated by sheer frustration. The book's lengthy summary does its best to simultaneously attract and deter all but serious readers. Clearly, this novel isn't for everyone as it's an exercise in patience, wading through the unconventional structure and repetitious literary progression. However, there's a method to Besecker's madness as the concept of déjà vu is a key theme and plot device . . . Oops, there's that circular time loop we were talking about . . . in truth the book's summary says it best, "This book is not for everyone." But if you’re a fan of psychological dramas laced with elements of terror in the vein of Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Clive Barker, and Kurt Vonnegut, then Lost in Infinity is a must-read for you. This book was reviewed as part of the Wise Bear Digital Book Awards competition. Entry fees associated with the contest are administrative in nature and do not influence our honest, unbiased book reviews.
This is an exceptional book! Lost in Infinity will wrap you in questions like nothing you've read before. Questions about faith, life, the universe, even your own existence. I finished this book within a week of receiving it in the mail, because I simply COULD NOT put it down. There were many (almost too many) issues and situations I could relate to in this book, which I'm sure many readers will find, which makes it even more real. When I cracked this book, I had no idea what 'apeirophobia' was, but I'm now certain it's legitimate. This book proposes questions that will have you up at night wracking your brain for answers, and that's what makes it so awesome.
Lost in Infinity is a book that will leave you questioning everything you have ever believed in, including yourself. It doesn't hold back and is real. It discusses real day to day things everyone faces and thinks about and is honest. It doesn't sugar coat things to be more socially acceptable. The author does an amazing job of making you feel like you are there with him and are a part of the book. It is a great read and you wont be able to put it down once you start partially because you'll want to continue it to see how it ends and partially because you'll be too scared to sleep after. Like the author does throughout the book, you'll start asking yourself questions that will keep you up at night and fearing their answers, especially the question, "Was this book intended for me?"
When I purchased this book, I confess I did it more to support a new friend than for any other reason. Skimming the premise I deduced that this was not in my normal "comfort zone" of genres. But, I am passionate about supporting the people I know, so I pulled up Amazon and ordered a physical copy of the book. I wanted the author to be rewarded monetarily for his efforts. The book came UPS yesterday, and while I was excited, it was more that initial phase for me. New book. Uncreased seam. The smell of the paper. I started it at lunch and found it interesting. Very well written. But I was distracted by life and after reading a chapter or four I set it aside. Last night my internet connection flaked out and I was bored. Picked up the book. And I was lost. This is the kind of book that, if i was 12 years old again, I would hide under the covers and read with a flashlight so my parents wouldn't see the light under my door and realize I was up past my bedtime. As it is I read until I was reading with one eye open, fighting against the urge to sleep. and even when I put the book down, my mind wouldn't stop wondering what would happen next to the character. I woke up early and should have gone back to sleep, but found my desire to find out what happens was stronger than my desire for rest. I could not put it down until I finished it. Racing along to the OMG conclusion... This to me signifies an excellent book. When I disappear into it's pages completely. I cease to be, and with each page turned I move closer to the conclusion. I found myself laughing out loud at his comments to his bible school teacher, and conversely torn with sympathy for his endless search for the oblivion of sleep. Upon reaching the conclusion I was stunned, speechless, and quite frankly in awe. It all made sense. I can honestly say it was one of the best reads I have ever had. I hope the author continues to write. I know if he does I will be one of those preordering his next work. I will wait for it to arrive like a child waiting for a long awaited sequel to a beloved video game. And I will hide under the covers with my flashlight so that no one will disturb me until I reach it's conclusion.
It is not at all what I expected. I can't even describe it really. It's not horror or thriller, it's just unsettling. It's like looking into the mind of someone swimming in psychosis. It's making me feel so disturbed too because I am relating to a lot of it (the author's point I think) which makes his phobias and mental craziness seem more normal than nuts. I have read that the book is full of twists, but so far I haven't seen any. I'll have to finish it to see. So far thought, it's amazing.