The thing about Fated is I was scared to read it.
I loved S.G. Browne's debut novel, Breathers, so much I wanted to savor that love forever, and was actually a little worried his new novel Fated wouldn't live up to my ridiculously high expectations.
Boy, was that stupid.
From page one of Fated, I was completely sucked into the narrative voice of Fate, known to his friends as Fabio. The thing about Fate is he's confused and tired of the same ole, same ole. I mean what can you expect from an immortal who's been guiding the fates of mankind since Jerry created Earth.
Yeah, I said Jerry. That's God's real name. I bet you didn't know that.
Fabio's lackadaisical approach to his humans takes a turn when he finds himself intervening with a beautiful woman named Sara who's not on his path. The thing about Sara is she's on the path of Destiny, and Fabio can't see her future. Unfortunately, Jerry's rule number one says the Immortals aren't supposed to get involved with humans, but Sara is everywhere and before long it's impossible for Fabio not to involve himself. He stalks her, learns everything about her and breaks another immortal rule by falling in love with her.
And breaking this rule when it comes to Sara triggers something inside Fabio that prompts him to interfere like he's never done before. Before he knows it, he's altering the future outcome of his fated charges, even sending some of them off his path and into Destiny's care.
Imagine, if you will, all those things that make human life what it is... Humor, Laughter, Anger, Resentment, Honesty, Secrecy, Karma, Gluttony, Sloth, War, Luck, Chance, Aggression, Mediocrity, Justice, Death...now picture them all personified and walking around the world with quirks not unlike the humans they look after. Secrecy is paranoid. Sloth is a narcoleptic. Death a necrophobic. Irony is all over this book, and it's a beautiful thing.
Fabio's compelling voice leads you into this every day world chock full of cynicism, sarcasm and truth, painting a modern portrait of self-absorbed mankind placating his mediocrity with materialism and rampant sexuality.
While the narrative is similar in style to the main character in Breathers, it is unique in that the voice defines Fabio perfectly. He's both relative and intangible, and the characters he interacts with provide a great deal of food for thought.
The thing about Fated is it's not just satire; it's literature. It's a classic waiting to be assigned to the reading list in college courses like American Lit 101.
And I can't believe I was afraid to read it. I'm actually a little bit ashamed because the amazing narrative of Breathers itself was indication that S.G. Browne is an author to be reckoned with, a voice from the void of humanity that begs to be heard. So listen, and read. You won't be disappointed.
You can get a copy of Fated, published by the New American Library division of Penguin, for just $15 U.S.