A review of Four Parts of the Universe by Darren H. Pryce

Reviewed by Polly Kaledin

Four Parts of the Universe
By Darren H. Pryce
Amazon Kindle edition
ASIN: B00HWWOYBK, 01/16/2014, 521 pages, $3.99US.

“In any world, in any time, in any life I shall find you.” Four Parts of the Universe is a romance, but it is also a modern novel that takes you to a journey through a big city. The characters become companions on this trip, only instead of sharing a car or a bus with them, you are actually sharing their consciousness.

You can not call any of them a main character, for each one has a unique and a realistic way of thinking. There are four of them, and you are welcome to stay in their mind for as long as the chapter lasts.

Travelling with Matt you can walk a path of a talented musician. We find him in a very intimate moment in artist’s life – during writer’s block that follows the whirlwind bounce of his musical career. He is also in a very dangerous state, eager to try everything. Matt is being sent to see a therapist, who is supposed to help him deal with the attitude. Matt represents a pretty standard, maybe a little too “cool” image of a musician. He is everything a young rock star wants to be: lucky with women, blessed with a gift of talent, and at the same time somehow lonesome and depressive. However, in his chapters, a reader can enjoy a realistic image of the backstage and everyday musician life. Through his eyes we get a chance to look behind the scenes.

When you walk in Rain’s shoes, you start from the ruins of the relationship. Rain is a very unusual character for a book – wise in some ways, but unwise in others. She is a dreamer and as her name would indicate, is spontaneous and fresh. Her chapters are very easy to read and enjoy. They convey the beauty of an optimistic person unwilling to give up under any circumstances. In an eternal chase after relics and antiques – the things she has a passion for, Rain buys a beautiful old cross, a jewel that somehow drags her into another world – the kingdom of Morpheus. As a sophisticated follower of esoteric, she is paying attention to her dreams. She also follows signs and that’s how she meets Charlie.

Charlie is a modern and free-spirited girl, or at least that’s the way she used to be. Now she is mostly playing the role of a good wife. She is not yet married though, but waiting for her boyfriend to propose. Her job is pretty much a joke – she is a young PR-manager and she spends more time grumbling at her job than actually doing it. She is a classic example of a woman lost in her own childish dreams. She is like a Barbie-doll in her perfect house with a perfect Ken that is leaving for work, because you don’t play him until he is required. Charlie’s character allows us to grow with her from being a kid in an adult life into being a solid person, able to decide for herself. Except for the times Ed is stepping in.

A couple of times throughout the book Ed comes to the rescue. Ed is a man of his word, a man of his actions, and a very rebellious soul. He used to be the CEO of his father’s company, but that wasn’t the way he wanted the life to be. Ed quit that position to start his own… club. You can call it an early mid-life crisis, because Ed is trying to change everything. He breaks up with his over-persuasive girlfriend, who his parents were already seeing as his wife. Going against the odds is what Ed is strong at. He rejects the gifts that his family name gave him.

Ed is well-rounded, and the author is not afraid to show both his good and bad sides. He can be a very useful character for women, because he is thinking a lot, giving us an opportunity to see inside men’s heads. How much he doesn’t like when his ideas or points are being ignored, how much he hates all the pressure some people are putting on him. All the things Ed is reflecting about are like a guide for women. A “don’t do that” guide: “If you press the balloon too hard, it explodes.”

The narrative voice is unique in this book. Every chapter is written from one or the other character’s point of view. Four Parts of the Universe has a lot in common with classic “stream of consciousness” books. You can actually judge the character by his thoughts, the way he sees the world and, as well, by his actions. The rest of this fictional world is described through four pairs of eyes, and the interesting thing is that you can actually build a pretty objective image. That brings us to imagination, which is working at capacity while you are reading the book. Every image appears in your mind and Darren H. Pryce seems to be a great artist, if even the craziest of his metaphors somehow become alive in your mind.

“The words invaded the rhythm and lied upon the muffled voice of a smouldering cigarette.”

The book also written in a distinct stylistic tone. Adopting some classical and some modern speech patterns, adding new ways of describing scenes and things, the author has created a book that some may consider a 21st century classic romance.

About the reviewer: Polly Suzanna Kaledin is from Winnipeg, Canada. She enjoys contemporary literature and has a strong passion for fiction in particular.