I finally finished Martin Seay’s The Mirror Thief a few days ago after a pleasurable few weeks of reading, and the bittersweetness of finishing the novel has been lurking around the corners of my life ever since. It was a fantastic read: immersive and absorbing, adventurous and intriguing. Seay paints vivid portraits of people and place in three different worlds and periods. That it’s his first novel is a marvel.
The book follows the interconnected lives of three men and their ghosts and tramps through the present, the fifties and the sixteenth century with ease. It’s no great effort to switch time and place when Seay does it so well, and the end result is a remarkable read that comes off effortless for all its complexity.
So, what’s the verdict?
Title: The Mirror Thief
Author: Martin Seay, who spent an impressive five years writing the novel.
Publisher: Melville House
Rating: 5/5 (Goodreads rating, for comparison: 3.3)
The best feature of the book: It’s fascinating.
The worst feature of the book: It takes a while to get going.
Trigger warnings: There’s some violence and homophobia. Spontaneous wart removal and other bodily grossness occur.
You’ll like this if… This is a tough one. It isn’t a straightforward mystery or thriller, though it contains elements of both. There’s alchemy and coming-of-age and crime fiction. It’s literary and prosaic. Read at least until you hit Stanley’s back story. I think you’ll stick around for the rest.