When one enters the world of “magic realism” created by Gabriel Garcia Marquez one is never certain if events that he describes could actually happen. However, under his inimitable spell one quickly understands he is weaving a world where such things not only can happen, they must happen. A similar kind of experience awaits those who read THE EIGHT FOOT BOY, a new novel by Carley Eason Evans. Unbelievably believable events happen to young Tim Holden, a boy genetically destined to be astoundingly different from his peers. Although he does not achieve the height attributed to him in the book title, he does come close by the time Ms. Evans elects to close the story.
Not only is Tim preternaturally growing into a physical giant, he also is evolving into a mental giant who, almost from infancy, grasps facts and ideas that will remain arcane to most children well into their teens and beyond. One of the constant delights of the novel lies in watching Tim, by the time he is only six or so, chat on a near equal footing with characters far more advanced in education and training than he. Such scenes present the reader with a palpable idea of how astounded we might be had the scriptures recorded verbatim the discussions the boy Christ had with the priests in the Temple.
Tim is blessed, and at the same time, cursed with parents who keep him at a distance yet still enlist Scott Flanders, a 20 something out of work philosopher to be the boy’s tutor. Scott, a marvelously dimensioned character is secondary only to Tim. He proves to be a lovely person, intellectually brilliant, empathetic to Tim’s plight and thus a near perfect mentor to address his charge’s disabilities and strengths. The two prove to be soul mates, each helping the other to negotiate a hostile world as Scott evolves into the caring parent Tim’s own parents fail to be.
The “magic realism” aspect of the story concerns the startling physical effect that well performed, emotionally engaging music has upon Tim. We may not conceive that such thunderous collisions between boy and song could occur in life. Perhaps not, but to our delight, in the novel they do occur with ever increasing danger and ecstasy.
The story details a life full of events–dangerous, triumphant, enlightening. It concludes with Tim’s graduation from college at age 15 and foreshadows a future life for Tim that will never be easy, but also will never be mundane.