The Rage

The Rage

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The Rage 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
MBLevine More than 1 year ago
The Rage by Temujin Hu is ugly and beautiful at once. It is the story of two men brought together by violence and loss. This is a story that dissects the human condition by revealing the origins of pain and the power of rage born of hurt. It is a dark tale that, if you stick with it, pays off in faith and pure love. Roland is a seventeen-year-old living with his parents in a low-income metropolitan area. He is a high school dropout and a budding professional thief. His mother is a junkie who sells herself for drugs. His father is a truck driver who is rarely home. There is constant discord in the house. Roland is left to find his own way in the world. When Roland and the man he believed was his father discover Roland’s mother dead in their home, the bottom falls out of the teenager’s fragile life. Even though Roland has Vanessa, a girl from the neighborhood who believes in him, the loss of his family and his neglected childhood overwhelm him. The anger that Roland has collected over his lifetime leads him to decompensate to a sub-human level of existence. After committing several extremely violent crimes, Roland takes on the persona of Red Ghost, a psychotic serial killer. He represents the weaknesses in human beings that make us susceptible to dark and disturbing behaviors. Nicolas is a successful business man with a wife and young daughter. After securing a big account for his company and purchasing his family’s dream home, Nicolas’ life is forever changed when his family is murdered by the Red Ghost. While Nicolas survived the attack that took his wife and child, his grief morphs into a yearning to kill the man responsible for the crime. What follows is a complete overhaul of Nicolas as a man and as a person. Nicolas fails to accept that he should hand over his need for revenge to God, but in the end, he transforms into a Christ-like character when his death leads to redemption for both men. This book is brilliant. It gets down to the base level of human brokenness and illustrates that God shows up no matter how hard we fall or how lost we become. I have never read a book that illuminates the power of grace in such an exceptional manner. Hu writes about the presence of God’s love and forgiveness even when human beings commit terrible acts. The inclusion of Vanessa and Janie, two women who care for both men, demonstrates the need for all of us to see the good in others. On the surface, The Rage is a tale of incredible violence, yearning for vengeance, and pervasive hopelessness. As the story untangles itself through the lives of Roland, Nicolas, Janie and Vanessa, hope and love are revealed. The moral is simple: We are all worthy of love and acceptance no matter what we have done in the past. The Rage is an exceptional read. I highly recommend it. Melissa Brown Levine For Independent Professional Book Reviewers
Pacificbookreview More than 1 year ago
A dark morality tale. Two young men whose lives are doomed by circumstance are driven to rebellious and sometimes nihilistic rage with murderous results. As the product of a terribly broken home, Roland feels forced into a life of crime; more out of existential frustration than economic necessity. As Roland begins his rampage, Nicholas is one of his first victims. Although having survived the ordeal, Nicholas loses much more than his life. He becomes like Roland: desperate and dangerous. As both men channel their energies toward destruction (Roland ) and vengeance (Nicholas), they both follow similar mental paths: from wild rage to focused criminal acts to spiritually conflicted dilemmas. It is the latter stage that is the undercurrent for this novel. As much as this novel is about crime and vengeance, it is more about seemingly impossible redemption. Following tragic falls, Roland and Nicholas embark on systematic training programs to become professional criminal and professional vigilante respectively. Their dedication and professionalism is described with admiration at times; perhaps even romanticized. However, this apparent praise of their violent efficiencies is to create two examples of people quite far down destructive paths, thus making any possibility of redemption less likely, but not impossible; therefore, making them unlikeable but underdogs just the same. Surrounded by a cast of hopelessly downtrodden cohorts and a few hopelessly hopeful supporters, this morality tale moves first subtly and then overtly to a kind of magical realism where angels and demons eventual play out Roland's and Nicholas's battles between good and evil. The suggestions of possible repentance and/or redemption for these two men give them just enough underdog status. The effect is that the reader is given the choice of whether to root for their redemption or to cast them off as hopeless. A difficult choice. The Rage is entertaining and well written. The point of the book is to suggest that no one is beyond spiritual redemption. The hopelessly hopeful faith of some supporting characters is almost too naive to be believed. However, this is the point. The "men of action and women of intuition" duality is present, and although that is an outdated or traditional portrayal of gender roles, it doesn't really dominate the narrative. The novel is dominated by the dualities of violence and spirituality, perdition and redemption. The blending of spiritual providence and human agency is done relatively well. The brutally destructive events never do sway those faithful few who believe Roland and Nicholas can still be saved. That either man may be redeemed in life is perhaps too much to ask. But again, that is the point. The supposition is not so much that anyone can move a mountain but that anyone can be crushed by it and still somehow dig his and her way to the top.