The Sadeiest by Austrian Spencer

This book is not for the faint-hearted. It will hit you like a train. You will have to comand huge strength and willpower to pick yourself up from the tracks and keep reading. And keep reading you must for this is a tour de force of a book. It is unique. It has a powerful message. It will stay with you.

The Sadeiest is about death and redemption but not in the tired conventional sense. It is a totally new take on the philosophy of dying, of sin and redemption. Williams, guided by his child-mentor Henreich, is the title character, the Sadeiest. His is the macabre task of entering corpses to “relive” their deaths in order to release the souls trapped within them. “Relive deaths” does not even begin to describe his job. Spencer showcases those multiple deaths in all their gory details. The deaths are so vividly presented that you will find yourself gasping for air and tasting bile in your mouth. You will wonder why anyone would ever agree to take on this grotesquely grim role, but this isn’t about choices or free will. It is about penance and redemption.

A lapse catholic, I consider myself well conversant with the concepts of sin, penitence, sacrifice and dying for others to save their souls, but Spencer turns these ideas upside down and inside out, and constructs a whole new philosophy of natural justice beyond grave. I was appalled, mortified and fascinated by this approach, all in equal measure.

As I said, Spencer takes no prisoners. This book is graphically horrifying and you have to have nerves of steel to get through it without feeling sick to the pit of your stomach. But this book isn’t about gratuitous thrills. There are metaphysical depths to it you could only find in some of Stephen King’s works. Reading this book is like looking at a surrealist painting, full of grotesque distortions, bizarre images, fragments of limbs and torn trees, floating objects and screaming faces. Gradually, you will begin to put the pieces together and it will make perfect – though petrifying – sense.   

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