In The Moors, Ben Marcus offers an intensely close-up vision of a lonely man who’s falling apart. Thomas — or “Thomas the Dead,” as the protagonist has begun to think of himself — rises from his desk for a cup of coffee only to find himself in what would be, for anyone else, the mildly awkward position of heading to the break room at the same time as an attractive female colleague. For Thomas, however, the awkwardness is magnified by an obsessive nature and a sharp break with reality. Following closely in his colleague’s wake, Thomas’s mind races with a myriad of loosely connected, frequently violent thoughts and images. Haunted by images of his bed-ridden wife and his socially awkward young son, Thomas entertains and abandons thoughts of a sexual encounter with the colleague whose name he can’t quite recall, all the while struggling desperately to maintain his tenuous grip on reality. Reminiscent of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground and the nightmarish impersonal landscapes of Franz Kafka’s fiction — with a hint, perhaps, of the perverse intellectual meanderings of Douglas Adams — The Moors explores loneliness and mental deterioration in painful yet poetic detail.
All net proceeds from sales of The Moors benefit The Friend Memorial Library.