No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Turnstiles Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
Top Customer Reviews
Really enjoyed the book. Thanks!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Andrea McKenzie Raine’s debut novel “Turnstiles” is a tale about three individuals whose lives intersect with one another in complex ways, illustrating the human condition through a kaleidoscope aimed at their stories. Each and every one of the main characters are all very unhappy with where their lives have brought them and their stories weave into one another in very intricate ways. Marty is homeless and aimless in life by choice, Willis is wealthy and misogynistic – not by choice. And then there’s Evelyn who is forced into the dark world of human trafficking—also not by choice. Their struggles stem from allowing others in their stories to define their own individual self-hoods, and ultimately they each try and break free from those invisible chains.
The author is a poet by nature, and this was demonstrated very eloquently throughout the novel. There were many wonderful glimpses of prose that would make any literary aficionado swoon. And every now and then when one of the author’s characters would stop what they were doing and allow the reader into their thoughts, their monologues were so beautiful it was like listening to the sound of rain—powerful and calm at the same time.
A reader may find themselves wrestling with many complexities of this book. Marty declares to the reader, within the first few pages that he is free. He doesn’t feel as though he belongs anywhere, and after gaining a new found fortune that takes him off the streets, he makes his way to Paris where he begins to feel as though he “might” belong. He often appears jealous of the lives of others and he uses his idealistic world view to cloak that insecurity. But then a few chapters afterwards, he declares that he wished he were free like others. His views come across as conflicted, with no meaning in the conflict of those thoughts to make it profound.
Willis is a very unlikable character. He grapples with the mental hold his deceased father has on him “I think I’ve turned into him” he declares. He hands over his inheritance to a homeless man on the streets on the London (it turns out to be Marty) in hopes that he can rid of his own demons by eliminating his father’s life-time accumulation of material currency. He is fearful of heading down the same path as his philandering father. Among the first scenes the reader finds Willis in is of him defendiTurnstiles-Cover-resizedng a man accused of killing his wife. This is an interesting set of scenes because it demonstrates the point of view that the author tries to establish in the book—the defendant, Mr. Harris, kills his wife because he felt as though she emasculated him and that is what pushed him to ultimately murder her. Before the word of law can decide on the defendant’s fate, Mr. Harris takes matters into his own hands and commits suicide. In the world of Turnstiles where majority of the characters allow others to define them, Mr. Harris doesn’t wait for the law to define him. His suicide becomes a heroic rhetoric that the other characters should have had the courage to follow.
Evelyn is one of the most melancholy characters that a reader may cross in the book. She comes from a very hostile and volatile background. As a teenager she is “captured” by Frank, a dark and lucid character whose only mission is violate and berate women. Just as Willis’s father has a mental hold on him, Frank has an everlasting hold on Evelyn. And when Marty and Evelyn meet on a train to Paris he declares to her that “you are like a caged animal. Just because there are bars in front of you, you think there’s no way out.” Marty and Evelyn share a brief romantic interlude, but because he is grappling with his own sense of self, Marty abandons her. This sense of abandonment may come across has Marty liberating Evelyn from Frank, but since the act of freedom was not her own, Evelyn’s new found liberty means nothing.
There were a few aspects which made Turnstiles a bit difficult to grapple with. The dialogue exchange between the characters often came across as a Q&A rather than a natural born conversation between individuals. Additionally, majority of the male characters of the book all seem to blur into one—they are all essentially the same ruthless beings with no sense of humanity at their core. The premise of the story lures you in with great promise, but the delivery of Turnstiles is unrealistic with its one too many plot twists and bleak characters.
The characters are frustrated with others who continue to define their own individual self-hoods. The characters often come across has victimized, with no spine and ultimately at times are unlikable. They walk the fine line between being a multifaceted character or one is severely underdeveloped. A reader may often find themselves hoping and rooting for Evelyn or Marty to step up to the plate and fight back the views of others and find themselves, but they never quite do. Their stories become a stark reminder that love cannot save you unless you’re willing to save yourself.
A hard earned ★ ★ ★
I would describe theme of this book as philosophical. The three main characters, Martin, Willis and Evelyn spend a great deal of time thinking about their past and what has led them to their current situation. Questions of life and love and the very reason for existence are raised as they each deliberate the meaning of life.
Of the three main characters, Evelyn, who runs away from an abusive home at the age of twelve, is the only one I could empathize with. Willis, a successful barrister, is a self centred man nursing grievances against his recently deceased father. Martin is a misfit who has difficulty relating to other people and never feels quite at home in the world.
The story also takes us into the minds of a number of supporting characters; Bonnie, a friend of Evelyn, Ellie, the mother of Willis, and Frieda, a cloakroom attendant from Germany who crosses paths with Martin. Each has an important part to play by giving the reader more of an understanding of the main character's motives and behaviour.
Evelyn, Martin and Willis all struggle to fit in with their everyday lives and are each searching for answers in the hope of achieving some sense of peace. All three are on a philosophical journey to come to terms with themselves.
The settings; London, Paris, Germany, Canada and the USA, are vividly described and add variety and colour to the story.
The novel ends on a positive note and gives the message that, although life may take a difficult and treacherous path, hope remains.
I believe that this is in no way an exaggeration - Andrea truly is an artist/writer of the highest caliber, and Turnstiles is splendidly consistent with this level of artistry.
Please know I do not say this lightly - with this book, she has offered us a work which is impeccably written, quintessentially resplendent, and with a powerful, deeply moving message...so much so that I (humbly and respectfully) believe it is important to say that she has truly made the world a better place through her splendid effort. Through the troubled characters in her book, Andrea weaves a so quite spellbinding study into the dynamics of life...and does so in a fashion congruent with succinct depth, prompting a deep and abiding insight into her characters. Once one begins reading, it really truly IS difficult to put down. – Dr. Glen Hepker (author of “A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health)
Simply put, easy to pick up and hard to put down, it is a very easy novel to read and eloquently written. I am looking forward to Andrea Raine's next novel!