Donal Reviews Godspeed by Nickolas Butler

Bart, Teddy and Cole have their own fledgling construction company in a small town.  Striving to make a name for themselves, they take on a daunting project with a crushing deadline.  They are tasked with building an architectural masterpiece in a roadless clearing in the mountains.  They all agree that the plans show a dream house with a potential for posterity but does their reach extend their grasp?

Knowing nothing worth having comes easy, they forge ahead.  Ignoring the problems they can, they focus on the payday they feel they are destined for.  As winter looms and the pressure rises, each man’s ambition and obsession curdles and threatens to break them.

There are many shades to this novel, ranging from addiction and compulsion to friendship and sacrifice.  Despite the depth of emotion on display, it never gets too bleak or wide eyed.  The little touches of their backstory away from the house endears you to them but breaks your heart a little too.

As I was reading it, I was never a step ahead of the story.  I was being pulled along, tripping over stones but keeping my footing.  Once I was finished, and I could see it as a whole, it made total sense and raised my appreciation of the journey these three guys were forced on. 

The style of writing is a little different from his previous books.  He’s kept the lyrical style and short brush strokes but he’s increased the pace and allows darkness to creep in at the sides without letting the heart felt truth fade.  There’s a gradual loss of innocence that is still fought for but can only be lost, leading it to feel like a fable. 

My favourite novel of 2021.

Donal Harding is the manager of Dubray Dun Laoghaire. He used to only read about murders and robberies, but these days it's mostly books about animals or superheroes

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