Friday, February 26, 2010
Numb by Sean Ferrell
I was lucky enough to read Numb by Sean Ferrell before its publication date this August. Numb, Ferrell's debut novel, is the story of a man who can't feel physical pain. He wakes up in the middle of Texas with no memory, and gets adopted by a circus where his “gift” of numbness becomes part of the show. From there, the bulk of the story deals with Numb's fame and freakdom in New York City.
Ferrell's elegant and beautiful prose ensnared me from the start. Beyond the author's voice, though, there's a stillness within the narrator, a unique receptivity that counter-balances the exuberance of his adventures. And adventures there are. Numb is a serious book, but it's an exciting one too.
Ferrell keeps the torment of Numb's emotional and literal search for identity ratcheted up on every page. Sometimes the only thing that makes this bearable is the relief of the characters that surround and support Numb. In deep colors, in full dimensionality, these people either help Numb or use him and we see them through the eyes of a man birthed upon the world full-grown, due to his amnesia. The trajectory of Numb's decisions and personhood becomes totally engrossing.
Themes of free agency, friendship, art and fame weave through Numb, and Ferrell treats them with a delicate, thoughtful hand.
Numb was a wonderful read which captivated me around every corner. It's available now for pre-order through the HarperCollins website or your internet bookstore of choice. Go!