Icarus Never Flew ‘Round Here | Critical Book Review

“Icarus Never Flew ‘Round Here” by Matt Edwards invites readers on a peculiar journey through the mind of Dale Samuel, a cattle rancher seeking purpose in the desolate Oregon High Desert. With a raw and unapologetic narrative style, Edwards constructs a narrative that can be described as a Frankensteinian amalgamation of god, creation, and the potent influence these concepts wield.

Amidst its numerous captivating themes and ideas, Edwards delves particularly deep into the notion of solitude and the perils of prolonged introspection.

Dale Samuel, a man of few words, diligently toils alone in the unforgiving desert, where his work sustains him and his childless wife, Janice. Although Dale doesn’t perceive himself as cursed, Janice harbors a different sentiment. Their existence remains uneventful until Dale stumbles upon an enigmatic object on his property. This discovery sparks an insatiable curiosity within him, prompting profound questions about the purpose and meaning behind everything in life.

Dale grapples with existential queries, pondering, “What’s it there for? What’s the point?” While the laborious work on his ranch has always served as his anchor, Dale begins to contemplate whether he is destined for a greater purpose. As his philosophical musings intensify, so does his isolation, leading those around him to notice his increasing detachment from reality. What ensues when our inquiries are met with silence, and we confront the unsettling possibility of a world devoid of answers?

Dale Samuel is a character shrouded in eerie darkness, yet paradoxically, he exudes innocence and unadulterated curiosity. Edwards possesses a knack for crafting eccentric, multifaceted characters that continually surprise us. Dale’s evolving introspection initially endears him to readers, but as the narrative unfolds, Edwards subtly guides us down a disconcerting rabbit hole alongside Dale. The author ensures that Dale remains a few steps ahead of us, leaving us to chase his elusive trail as he navigates uncharted territory.

While we attempt to call Dale back home, he remains oblivious to our pleas, fixated on an elusive destination. Edwards masterfully instills a sense of haunting dread in his readers, using Dale’s interactions with the townsfolk to peel back the layers of his past and illuminate his transformation. These desolate desert towns serve as an apt backdrop for exposing the underbelly of American culture. Edwards’ meticulous attention to detail, particularly in terms of setting and dialect, lends a palpable authenticity to the novel, creating an ambiance that is consistently evocative.

“Icarus Never Flew ‘Round Here” exudes an unmistakable Americana aura, with scenes that transport you to the dust-filled highways traversed by Dale’s Chevy Silverado, and the profound loneliness palpable in the corners of Dale and Janice’s kitchen. The melancholic undercurrent running through the story lends credence to Dale’s quest for meaning, as the locals remain comfortably ensconced in their own existence, reluctant to believe that Dale could ever be any different.

In conclusion, “Icarus Never Flew ‘Round Here” is a remarkable novel that defies expectations, unsettling readers with its quiet and gradual build-up of anxiety. Matt Edwards has crafted a surreal world through the eyes of a cattle rancher who, once content with his serenity, becomes consumed by a hunger for meaning. This novel possesses a unique ability to both captivate and disquiet, making it an engrossing read that is unlikely to be easily set aside.

Modern Book Details:

PublisherGenrePrint LengthISBN
Atmosphere PressLiterary & General Fiction160 pages978-1639885527

“Icarus Never Flew ‘Round Here” by Matt Edwards invites readers on a peculiar journey through the mind of Dale Samuel, a cattle rancher seeking purpose in the desolate Oregon High Desert. With a raw and unapologetic narrative style, Edwards constructs a narrative that can be described as a Frankensteinian amalgamation of god, creation, and the…