Paper Castles by B. Fox

4 out of 5 stars

Set during the Great Recession, James Brooke is a lonely out-of-work architect in his late 20s living at home with his father. His life is so mundane that the highlights of his days are his aimless walks around town and his visits to a coffee shop for a single cup of coffee. 

“A dream can’t be alive without a dreamer who believes in it.”

B. Fox, Paper Castles

As James describes his life, “The days are starting to bleed into one another, and I’m losing track of them. Sunrises have become pale, and sunsets have grown dim.”

The storyline is simple and focuses on a limited set of characters, primarily James and Karen Green, the waitress at a coffee shop. Readers follow the ups and downs of James’s very ordinary life. Yet, the book somehow manages to be engaging with poignant observations like, “A dream can’t be alive without a dreamer who believes in it.”

The book covers loss, despair, and feelings of failure while remaining hopeful. The real strength of this debut work is the writing. Because of his masterful way of capturing emotions and crafting descriptions, I will look forward to reading B. Fox’s next novel.

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