I found the premise for J.P. Sitler’s “Fugue” promising, reminding me a little of Walter Mitty and his continuously drifting out of reality and into his dream world after overhearing something being said. Her characters play well into her storyline and you get decent sense of who they are and what they look like.
Unfortunately, there are several issues which distracted me from enjoying the book more. The first of which is finding the passive nature of the writing where consecutive sentences used the word “was.” I found addition of titles for each chapter to be a distraction since enough space hadn’t been allowed to develop this chapter to its full potential. Chapter 4 – “Time Lost” did remind me of “Moby Dick” where the chapter did not fill a page, but contained the word “thump” repeated numerous times. Having 37 chapters for less than 98 pages of actual text is, in my opinion, to be quite excessive is a bit excessive. These issues are forgivable since they can easily be edited.
However, factual descriptions are not; the description of the train ride from Southport into New York wholly inaccurate. The Southport station mention in the story is on New Haven Line of the Metro-North Railroad. While it does run more or less parallel to the Interstate [Route 95], there are no “forgotten throwaways of civilized society: the garbage, the smoke stacks of industry, and the poor” visible from of the train, nor are there any billboards advertising whiskey and free check cashing. Below 125th Streekt there are no Brownstone buildings that seemed to be just a few feet from the tracks bloced out the sky”, this is because the railroad runs on elevated tracks which are at least forty feet from the street be“low.
It is for this reason I can only give Ms. Sitler’s novel only 3 STARS.