Their Solitary Way by Roy Lotz

I am excited to announce that, at long last, my philosophical novel has been published and is now available!

I wrote this book about six years ago—before I even moved to Spain—but I have been steadily working on it since. A philosophical novel with dubious commercial prospects, it took a while before I could find a publisher willing to release it. Thankfully, Adelaide Books agreed, and turned my little project into a reality.

In short, if you have ever read one of my reviews and thought “Boy, I wish that lasted three hundred more pages!” then have I got good news for you—you can! But be advised: I wrote this book when I was working under the combined influence of Marcel Proust and Ludwig Wittgenstein. While I would not dare compare my poor novel to their works, it does suffer from the attempt to emulate them.

In any case, to repeat the novel’s acknowledgments: “I am thankful to be part of such a wonderful online community of readers, and indebted to many members for helping me learn and grow.” It is no exageration to say that this book would never have been written, much less published, without Goodreads and the readers of this blog. So thank you once again.

(Ebook versions will soon be available across various platforms. I have linked to the publisher’s website and Amazon above.)

View all my reviews

5 thoughts on “My Novel Has Been Published!

  1. Congratulations Roy!. A remarkable opera prima! Interesting and enjoyable. Let me write some words on it.
    The utopia of the addicted readers is a library merged and identified with the world. This is the theme of The library of Babel, by J.L. Borges, and, as I think, the motif of Their solitary way as well. Such a brotherhood honours you, of course. But in your book we can also realize the dreadful personal consequences of that beautiful idea when -beyond its aesthethic appeal- it comes true. In a few words: to look into the wicked results of (naïve) intellectualism -this is just the core of the novel. And, for sure, being aware of their evil side is not at odds with the love for books.
    However, along with the love of books, Their solitary way is supported on the undisguised author´s fondness for philosophy. Whoever reads the book will firstly notice the many philosophical signs in the story. A german speaking scholar coming from Austria, whose given name reminds us that of Wittgenstein and whose surname maybe tells us about his uneasiness in life (“Zorn” stands for “Rage” or “Wrath”), settles down in an isolated house amongst the forest, as Thoreau did. He has resolved to raise his four children in a bubble, using only his books –and not even trusting the language-, apart from “the distracting pull of the world”. So, from the beginning, we read about a philosophical homeschooling (in german, of course), about a father wanting his children to attain a pure comprehension of truth. The philosophical references may even be tracked until the end of the book when the image of the starry sky leads us to a reflection on the overwhelming sense of oneself smallness in front of the hugeness of the universe –perhaps a remembrance of Kant´s Critique of practical reason-.
    But, in addition to –and more important than- these external clues, philosophical discussions are to be found everywhere in the work; indeed, philosophy is the main conversation topic between characters. A number of classical problems come up on the text: language and knowledge, the relationship between words and things, moral and hapiness, subjectivity of our ideas, mind and brain, what time is, the vision of a deepest reality, world and mathematics, experimentation in science, the laws of physics, the existence of freedom, the death, natural sciences vs. social sciences, chance and necessity, personal identity, self-perception, what values are, the origin of everything, uncertainty about facts, society vs. nature, the experience of nothingness…, among others (sorry for the list). There are, actually, other non-philosophical problems brought up, like sleep and dreams, memory, amusement, teaching a science, medicine, women engineers, etc., but all of them are tackled from a similar analytical point of view. It seems as if the book were the novel of an essayist. And, certainly, it becomes a good introduction to many philosophical problems since these are addressed through dialogue and reasoning, sometimes at length (e.g. language). Truly praiseworthy. Maybe it is only to be missed a try on some social and political questions.
    Anyway, given that philosophy and truth appears to be a necessary tool, the story also conveys the wise message that theoretical knoledge is not enough means to manage in life. Paradoxical? Not really. Despite our –smaller or greater-rational abilities, human beings are basically emotional and social beings in their practical life. That is why it is mistaken to address their problems as if they were maths or physics questions that can be solved by standard logical procedures. We need to take into account the relationship games that are held in practical life; and these are not subjected to logical rules. Likes, choices and deeds are usually espontaneous, impulsive, reckless; and, even more important, humans behave following emotional motives to fulfill some affective needs previous to the “conquest of truth”. The lack of this fulfillment is what the characters of the novel are fighting against. The novel is a portrait of the battle.
    Regarding this point, homeschooling would deserve a special mention as the whole plot is grounded on it. Although homeschooling today stands for a very different kind of education from the one proposed in the novel (nowadays they claim that schools are not working for the sake of children, as they neither respect their diversity, rhythms and interests, nor provide them an emotional support), there is something that both of them forget: true education cannot take place in isolation. The author mentions –sensibly again- the african proverb: “It takes a (whole) village to raise a (single) child”.
    Last but not least, it is worth saying some words about the literary structure of the story. It is as follows: somebody finds a paper out that contains the story which is going to be told –like we see in El Quijote or The name of the rose, to mention just two samples-. It is a witty device in order to create a reality-like atmosphere and let the protagonist speak. Nevertheless, here there is an additional turn of the screw when, at the end of the novel, we read the preface of a new manuscript, Father´s Memoirs, where we know about the same tragic fate of both, father and son. It is a kind of looping ending. Great.
    So, in a nutshell, a very good book.

    Liked by 1 person

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