This is actually the last of the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant - the main character in a series that Stephen Donaldson began writing I believe in 1977. I have NOT read the first ones. This last fairly covers what was written before and according to reviews by other readers, can stand alone. Erik had read the first ones too and was able to tell me that the main character developed leprosy and basically becomes a pariah to everyone. He falls into, at times when he becomes unconscious, another world called ‘The Land’ where he interacts with beings native to that world. The Land is perfectly beautiful but is beset by evil that he alone, with the wild magic of his wedding ring made of white gold can fix or save.
The entirety of the chronicles however is based on nearly every character having been ruined by happenings in their lives. Every character focuses on their failures….................and this is where I started having problems with this book.
While ALL have been toted as being fantasy, there was little dialogue and the focus was on what the main individual was thinking, and what ‘she’ [in this last it’s a psychiatrist who is the lead character] thought others were thinking and how she could communicate well enough with others to reach them and all this is based on her own continual fear of failing, always failing.
After reaching just beyond page 100 I closed the book understanding that this was not so much a story but a therapeutic effort:
It’s cumbersome and not so much a story I think as a dubious journey through the mirrored damaged parts of the human psyche that the author attempts to dissect and understand (The Land). Thomas Covenant becomes a sort of previous map or diagram from which all the damaged rest [of the characters] try to find a way back to innocence (the way The Land should be), or the complete destruction of innocence/The Land.
-Life itself takes that away from all of us by varying degrees even while we try to protect a small fragment of it. Amazing, many of us succeed and do not believe life as a series of failures but rather a journey….I’m not sure the author has a goodly view of this though-
So I don’t see this as a fantasy as much as an unusual group of extremely damaged characters.