Published by Gecko Press.
Review by Robyn Colclough.
‘Up until a year ago, my father was famous.
Now he’s a little bit famous, and dead.’
Zeustian Logic by Sabrina Malcolm explores the life of Duncan, aka Tuttle, after an unexpected family trauma and the complications that follow. Tuttle, an astronomy and Greek myth buff, is trying to cope with the recent death of his father, who was sadly killed on a mountaineering trek whilst climbing up Mount Everest. Tuttle is willing to move on with his life, but with his mother on a depressed and destructive path, and his little brother Fen hardly communicating, he’s struggling to cope.
The synopsis for this novel intrigued me from the beginning; the blurb captured my attention and willed me to open the book. Oddly, the narrative is quite comical. I expected a tone that reflected the circumstances the protagonist was thrown into, whereas I was presented with a very interesting and quite sarcastic character. This is one of my favourite parts about the novel; Tuttle being an extremely likable narrator. Although he has clear flaws, his love of astronomy and the occasional fun fact to break up the narrative is a refreshing change from other contemporary fiction.
Indeed, I am reminded of authors such as John Green when reading Zeustian Logic, the writing style being similar – as well as Tuttle’s clear characterisation reflecting many of Green’s, and his contemporaries’, protagonists. This is not a criticism of Malcolm defining her writing style from the very beginning with Tuttle’s wit and likability. In fact, I have found it to be one of the best contemporary books I have read.
The writing in Zeustian Logic is consistently brilliant, and never shies away from Tuttle’s emotions. It was this that hooked me; Malcolm always showing the reader how Tuttle is feeling, rather than telling. For example, when Tuttle is extremely angry with his incompetent mother, he lashes out internally, wanting to scream and yell profanities at her. But he never says how he feels. Clearly, there is a bitterness as well as sadness that is communicated, and consistently so throughout the novel. I strangely liked this quality of Tuttle; Malcolm presenting a character of frustration and anger, rather than one caring for his grieving mother. This is especially true due to Tuttle adopting a motherly role after the accident, channelling his love towards Fen, as his sadness is directed at his mother.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel immensely. The brilliantly written narrative was complimented by eccentric characters and emotional plot twists. As an avid reader of contemporary fiction, this book is one of the best I’ve read in a long while. Therefore I would highly recommend Zeustian Logic to anyone who wants to discover a new summer read, or a fantastic addition to your bookshelf.