The One Apart: A Novel
In The One Apart by Justine Avery, Tres is born remembering all of this past lives and has been entirely aware and conscious of these memories and the world around him from the moment he awoke in his mother’s womb. Needless to say, he is not destined to live a normal life on Earth but instead is involved in several extraordinary adventures through the course of his current life on corporeal Earth.
I was intrigued by the concept from the very beginning, and the story itself is fascinating. How does you live your life if you remember everything that ever happened for uncountable lives before this one? What is a child born like that capable of? I was caught from page one, and the pace never slowed, following through leaps covering years of Tres’s life with his mother and grandmother as he grows up, already mature, and tries to maintain some illusion of normalcy, at least for the outside world. The characters were also beautifully well constructed, and I believed all their motivations and emotions.
The only place this novel faltered was in the repetitive nature of the writing. It felt like they had the same conversations repeatedly before moving on, and there were certain phrases that were just overused, particularly in the Apart. I am thinking in particular of “it is the Natural Order of Things.” The overuse of ellipses and em-dashes also gave certain parts of dialogue a particularly Shatner-esque feel in rhythm, which was distracting to say the least.
But these minor issues were not enough to detract from the overall enjoyment of what is a unique perspective on the subject of what it is to be human, to grow up, and what comes after. I recommend giving this book a read and seeing for yourself how well Avery constructed this quiet, small-town family hiding the biggest secret in their corporeality.