Mark Mayes is a genius. This is one of those books you occasionally come across that is mind-blowing. I know that before I even start this review, I am not going to be able to do it justice.
I give this 5*
Firstly, this book is beautiful, from the outer cover to the inner pages, to the story inside. It is beautifully and artistically written. It is a masterpiece, this becomes obvious when you start to read it. You know you are experiencing something wonderful, there are very few books that have left me with this “It was an honour and a privilege to read” feeling.
This is the story of Thomas, Liselotte and Jo short for Johann, though there are many more very important and memorable characters. Thomas and Liselotte are given a box each, their reactions to this mysterious package are completely different. Thomas is very wary and wants to ignore and forget about his. Whereas Liselotte embraces her box, opens it and is mesmerised by the contents. The boxes will lead them on a journey of discovery, of horror and hope, of innocence and mixed paths. They will travel dark paths where time looses all meaning, and will question life and their own existence and beliefs.
This book is so deep with so many intertwining stories, characters and ideologies, it is amazing that it all fits into 320 pages. This is not a quick read book, it a book that you will think about. The characters are wonderfully written and the scenes that Mark has created are astounding. This book has left me awestruck. There will be people who read and understand philosophical texts, who will take a lot more from this story than I have. But this lack of philosophical understanding that I have does not for a moment take anything away from the story. It makes me aware that there is something deeper and profound sat in these pages.
There is one quote that I loved from this story that for me jumped out, though there are a lot i could choose, and that was
“We are cursed with free choice.”
This is not a quick read book, it is a book to be savoured and enjoyed. It is a work of genius.
‘Gifts ought to be free, but they never are. They tie you to the wishes of others. To your own sad expectations. To the penitentiary of your dreams.’
Late one night, Thomas Ruder receives a strange package: a small blue box. Another such item is delivered to his friend Liselotte Hauptmann. These ‘gifts’ will change their lives forever. In the far-off border town of Grenze, a play is to be performed at the Sheol Theatre. Reynard the impresario expects a very special audience. Thomas and Liselotte, together with their friend Johann, are drawn into Reynard’s seductive web, as Daumen, the gift maker, must decide who his master really is.
The Gift Maker is a story about identity, about fulfilling your dreams and becoming the person you always were … at whatever cost.