The Book of Luce is the third installation of L. R. Fredericks’ Time and Light series. Though there is a connection between the three, it is possible to understand and appreciate one without reading the others. I must confess I am rather intrigued by the other two.
It all begins with a thread.
The narrator, a journalist writing under the pseudonym of Chimera Obscura, is guided through an enigmatic set of clues that end up leading to a life-altering and conscious-expanding Luce and the Photons gig. The way the moment is described, the moment when the light first hits after the immersing darkness, brings the word rebirth to mind. What follows is a quest for meaning and understanding – Who is Luce?
Imagine an immense amount of puzzle pieces, so many you can hardly believe they will become one. Now imagine them coming together, one by one, no loose ends. The final image is a picture of the universe, if there ever was one. That was how it felt to read “The Book of Luce” by L. R. Fredericks.
It all ends with a thread.
Describing it as a journey might be slightly misleading. Though we are invited to board quite a few planes, trains and cars, we seem to continuously arrive at the place where we first departed from. I would as an alternative refer to it as an experience, one that feels quite enthralling. I believe the writing style plays an essential role in the creation of this absorbing sphere, the simplicity of it allowing the book to stand out as an entity instead of segregated passages.
Harmony seems to be a key word to this volume, not simply in terms of construction but also in terms of narrative – the way the plot develops, the way darkness meets light and recognizes it to be not its opposite but its complement, the way time is portrayed as a spiral, the beginning always present. If I had to reduce “The Book of Luce” to an image, I would, without a shadow of a doubt, draw a circle.
It all begins again.
The narrator goes to a lot of trouble – and a lot of danger too – trying to unearth the true identity of Luce, but at the end of the day, at the end of the book, it’s all a matter of perception. Though it is partially a compilation of testimonies, it is still but someone’s reading, someone’s assessment of a certain number of events. The experience of this odyssey will depend on how far we are willing to go, on how we choose to dive into a world where magic is both theory and practice. With different names, different genders and different gifts, the essence of Luce remains the same, everything and nothing.
Delving into the world of psychology and art, of psychedelic drugs, astral projection and the esoteric, probing the mind and deconstructing the body, The Book of Luce is a trip worth taking.