My Life in Orbit by Richard Blandford [8/10]

What a treat My Life in Orbit is, as both captivating read and deep illumination. Fantasticus Austisticus is the tag given to the hero of this tale and that tag tells us we are reading one of those renderings of a life on the spectrum, a kind-of-sub-genre I’ve read often for the simple reason it fascinates me. How to portray the inner life of such a hero varies dramatically from one novelist to another, and Richard Blandford adopts a persona that is dense, ritualistic (the “orbit” of the title is the hero’s rigidly set daily meander in his British village), and anxious, yet bursting with intelligence and hugely self-aware. The result is a wonderfully immersive experience, as Fantasticus Autisticus proceeds through a day like any other, but hey, it’s not at all the same, an event looms that will shatter it all, and events spiral and niggle until the hero reflects on his entire troubled-yet-triumphant life while waiting for that life to shift, to shift at last. My Life in Orbit is necessarily solipsistic but a small supporting character group is vividly portrayed, as is the hero’s humdrum yet vibrant landscape. The writing is flawless. Overall … latch onto this and revel in the experience.

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