The Human Effect is the latest book I read.
Its EFFECT on me lasts until the moment I am writing this review. Whether you will like the storyline, love the unusual characters or loathe them, demand this should be a much longer book due to its complexity, argue that the book has a foreign feeling to it although written originally in English ... you will mostly agree it is a unique first novel.
I want to say from the beginning that one does not need to agree with a of The Human Effect to appreciate it, that is if this is a book about philosophies. The magic is the originality of the book. The smooth flow and emotion estatic pages that Akmal Shebl writes in. The way you just fall in love--or hate--with the characters.
Some pages, a mystery, some pages, dark fantasy, some horror, some top literary fiction. A mix of Coelho mytaphiscal charm and Marquez storytelling, yet a the eerie imaginations of Clive Barker and the protagonist's melancholy of King.
Who are we? What is it really like to be human? What are we capable of in destroying another human for the most wicked reasons? What's the difference between being dead and alive? Who wrote history? Is there someone burried in your thousand year old wall right now? Why do we build? Why do love? What are out bounderies and choices?
It starts with a child named Lou'ai in love with curves. Everything in his childhood is experienced in curves not images. He grows up and becomes and architect. Still searching for the mystery of the curves of beauty using it as a measurment of love. Lou'ai falls in and out of love with Salma. In and out of love with Sammy his rival architect. The search for the mystery of curves elludes his life. Then he meets Zypher a multi billion investor bargaining that Lou'ai designs the buildin of the century for him or he will own Lou'ai's life. Lou'ai uses the help of Adam, a road hippie designer who thinks he lived this life before, to design the building of the century. In his brainstorming session he meets the mysterious ghosts and lost souls of the historical city Cairo, Egypt. They hand him the clues of a plan. A plan to build something gruesome and most artisitic. Something that will solve the mystery of curves of why we love and hate, why we hurt ourselves and others. Suddenly Lou'ai's curves turn in straight lines and the fate of seven charchters in this book is in danger from facing their fears, their past, their demons, and most of all The Human Effect. It could sound like a peeny dreadful horror paperback, it could sound like a classic. It's both. It's a very different book than those you will read this year. Whether you like it or not.