This ambitious yarn follows twelve-year old John Greber who, along with his mother Ellie, is the object of abuse at the hands of John’s father whom he names “The Beast.”
One day, “The Beast” abandons John and his mother while at the same time snatching away John’s six-year old sister Marny. John vows to seek revenge, confront his repulsive father, and rescue his sister Marny. As we discover, all of this transpires during a time where John and his mother will be indirectly involved in a Civil War that has far reaching repercussions that may lead to the destruction of the world.Tagging along with John and his mother, Allen cleverly uses his mind-boggling world as a vehicle in understanding what life is all about and the human condition. This is particularly in evidence as we witness John’s challenge of making the transition from childhood to adulthood as he self-examines the big questions in life as well as the nature of good and evil, the meaning of life and the quest to understand himself.
What I found quite striking about Gone Away Into the Land is Allen’s skillful narrative pacing in revealing bit-by-bit the various themes to the reader and permitting him or her to slowly discover it. Another plus is that Allen does not resort to some kind of magic wherein here lies on the fantasy aspect in order to enable John to break out of a thorny situation by manufacturing a super-duper miraculous spell that the reader never even knew about.
With its deftly constructed plot, episodic structure, a lovable hero,interesting secondary characters, and a dash of suspense, Allen’s fascinating debut novel is a haunting tale that jolts along at its own pace. Moreover, Allen’s writing is extremely powerful particularly his imagery and masterful descriptions such as when John meets up with“The Beast.” And when all is said and done, we have a novel that is not only amazingly fitting for our times, but one that is rich and rewarding for anyone, young or old, wishing to ponder over insightful questions pertaining to our existence and journey through life.
I have to admit that I am not always a big fan of fantasy books. Of course I have read and loved “The Lord of the Ring” series but have yet to read a Harry Potter book. I am an enigma that way, lol! I’ll get around to it, it just isn’t always at the top of my list.
I had the pleasure of having Jeffrey agree to do a virtual book tour with me and am I glad I did. I am not sure if I would have read this book otherwise, as my TBR pile is constantly growing and books with fantasy at the forefront don’t always take precedence. Maybe it’s time for me to change that.
This book is about John, a 12 year old boy living in fear of his father – a man he calls “The Beast”. This is an angry and abusive man who makes the lives of everyone around him miserable whenever he is around. It is part reality and part fantasty and the two meld perfectly. “The Beast” takes John’s sister Marny and John and his mother have to enter The Land to find her and save her from him.
There is so much that happens in this book it is hard to describe it and do it justice. It truly is something to be read and experienced. Great job Jeffrey!
Allen studied art at Bloomsburg University for two years before attending Boston University where he majored in history and minored in set design and fine arts. A one year hiatus, in the form a hitchhiking trip, served only to heighten his restless and inquisitive nature. Allen attributes those early journeys to laying the foundations for his views about politics and religion and the relationship they share with historical perspective.
Later, he traveled through Europe and Mexico where his compulsive curiosity with historical myth and legend intensified, especially for the interpretations that obscure the truths underlying foreign and American cultures. Allen was fascinated by the way events are twisted and misconstrued within historical writings because of religious beliefs or political power brokering. Those years of learning, searching, and questioning have contributed greatly to the philosophical depth of his writing. Allen continues to this day to study, research, and philosophize about the positive and negative effects on our culture due to an over abundance of historical and religious misconceptions.
Jeffrey Allen graduated from Millersville State University in architectural design and taught for two years while also working toward his Masters degree at Temple University in Philadelphia. After a brief teaching career, he created his own architectural woodworking firm in 1980.
By 1982, Allen was owner and president of Artistic Furnishings Incorporated, a design house and manufacturer of custom architectural millwork. The company employed designers, artisans and support staff. His work can be seen throughout eastern Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey in private residences and businesses. Today, Allen resides in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where he still works in the field of interior space planning, although most of his time is devoted to writing.