To Refrain from Embracing | Critical Book Review

Delving into the complex realms of a boy’s peculiar trauma, Jeffrey Luscombe’s To Refrain From Embracing challenges readers with its unapologetically indelicate narrative.


A Summer of Desperation: Unmasking the Layers

In this pensive and thought-provoking novel set against the backdrop of Canada in 1977, Luscombe weaves a narrative primarily centered around suicidal male patients in a psychiatric hospital. However, as the story unfolds, the focus broadens, revealing the intricate tapestry of their families’ lives.


Ted Moore’s Unraveling: Intrusive Thoughts and Identity Struggles

Initially revolving around Ted Moore, a UN Peacekeeper with a troubled past, the narrative shifts to explore his son, Josh. As the drama intensifies, the novel skillfully navigates the complexities of identity, involving Josh’s Native American heritage, his family’s religious fervor, and his own divergence from their norms.


A Tapestry of Existential Indignities: Dark Humor and Unexpected Traumas

Set against the backdrop of a society grappling with concealed sexual encounters and familial anxieties, the story takes unexpected turns. Luscombe skillfully introduces surprise traumas, creating a narrative blend of horror and comedy. The characters’ lives are intricately scripted, with some meeting their demise in pursuit of the story’s larger tapestry.


Controlling, Not Connecting: The Unsettling Dynamics

In a tale where self-restraint and control supersede genuine connection, the novel aptly earns its title, To Refrain From Embracing. The characters spend more time trying to manage themselves and each other than fostering meaningful connections. The result is an unsettling portrayal of a disastrous summer that leaves many threads unresolved.


Josh’s Twisted Coming-of-Age: An Open-Ended Snapshot

Jeffrey Luscombe’s narrative artistry keeps readers hooked as we witness the peculiar journey of Josh, born into a family marked by eccentricities. With an elaborately detailed world, the author offers a glimpse into a formative – or perhaps deformative – year in Josh’s life. As the tale concludes, Luscombe leaves us with a snapshot of a summer that is both captivating and enigmatically open-ended.

Publisher, Genre, Print Length, and ISBN

PublisherGenrePrint LengthISBN
Lethe PressHistorical Fiction438 pages9781590217481

Delving into the complex realms of a boy’s peculiar trauma, Jeffrey Luscombe’s To Refrain From Embracing challenges readers with its unapologetically indelicate narrative. A Summer of Desperation: Unmasking the Layers In this pensive and thought-provoking novel set against the backdrop of Canada in 1977, Luscombe weaves a narrative primarily centered around suicidal male patients in…