Monday, May 13, 2019

The Bridgecrosser: A Novel by Elizabeth Allen (transgender mystery)

The Bridgecrosser: A Novel by Elizabeth Allen starts out to be a book about one thing but ends up a being about many other things instead.  At first blush, it appears to be about the struggle of one man to deal with his debilitating anxiety with the assistance of his therapist, employing a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach. However, there is some deft slight-of-hand and trick-mirrors at work by the author, reflected in characters that are not at all what they seem to be. The book synopsis both mentions “falling in love with a 900 year-old Japanese-Jewish transgender girlfriend" and "frequent panic attacks.” That description was certainly enough to whet the appetite of this reader, who has an interest in both these topics. 

At the start, Xander, the main character, confronts his burgeoning fears while crossing bridges, only because these frightening and ever more graphic episodes threaten to derail his business career. Psychotherapy is Xander’s last hope. From then on, author Allen creates a compelling and mysterious story that is not so much about panic attacks; and not so much about dealing with transgender issues; and not so much about relationships either. It is about life itself and all that is inherent in living, including death.

The Bridgecrosser is a haunting tale that begins interestingly enough, but quickly falls into the category of the paranormal or supernatural. A full spectrum of memorable characters provides an “otherworldly” presence, peppered with therianthropy, apparitions and immortality. The action is fascinating, and the ending interestingly provocative. The author's use of British colloquial speech was extremely witty. The plot from beginning to end was fascinating and compelling. In the final analysis the meaning of The Bridgecrosser will probably be quite different for every reader. It is a compelling, introspective and extremely worthwhile read that will no doubt remain with the reader for quite some time.

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