Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Nightfall Nightfall
by Will Elliott

Supplied for review by Harper Collins New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

Will Elliott is writer of offbeat fantasies that adhere only tenuously to the expected tropes of the genre; Nightfall is his latest outing. Most unusually, given the preponderance of trilogies flooding the market these days, Nightfall is a single volume work.

Nightfall is the story of Aden Keenan, a recent suicide, who has come back from the dead in his grandfather’s unpublished novel. Aden’s appearance is a surprise not only to himself (how and why did he come back from the dead?) but also the characters in the novel. By his very existence Aden has upset the inter-character balance of his grandfather’s world. Nightfall is also Mr Elliott’s take on what happens to a fictional world and, by extension, the people in it when the mind that created that world fades and dies.

Nightfall, the fictional world, is populated by characters big and small and people who are mere scenery – the human backdrop that the characters play out their lives against. Aden Keenan is a wild card in that world, as he was never a character in the book. So why is he there? Can he be manipulated by the other characters? Is he some new plot device? The characters are aware they are characters playing roles and take any opportunity to break the mold decided for them.

Nightfall is an amuse bouche of a book as it leads an idiosyncratic path from beginning to end. By turns: fanciful, serious, wry and even skirting philosophical before veering into elliptic and laconic. A must read for those who despair of over-written doorstop fantasy.

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