“The Angels of L19”

It is difficult to like Jonathan Walker’s “The Angels of L19” – in the sense of the novel giving you a warm, comfortable, fuzzy feeling – but impossible not to admire it.

Without doubt it is a real pressure-cooker of a book: intense, unrelenting, dark, ominous, ambiguous, challenging. Perhaps the latter most of all. Not only in its subject matter – the all-consuming nature of extreme belief – but also in journey of the main protagonist – from a sanity of sorts to total instability. And as Robert slides from the reality of his day-to-day Liverpool world, so the book increasingly dips its toes into glimpses of fantasy, of magic realism. A skilful manifestation of Robert’s psychosis.

See what I mean about it being a difficult book to like?!

But it is really well crafted and immersive. As a non-believer, in the beginning I was side-swiped by the subject matter, unsure if I would be able to relate to it and see the book through. I needn’t have worried.