Review: One of These Things Is Not Like the OtherD. Travers Scott. One of These Things Is Not Like the Other
Published by Suspect Thoughts Press
Reviewed by Kay Sexton
Reality skews as Jake Barnes kills himself, leaving his quadruplet sons a message: one of you is an unrelated outsider. The four, spread across America, converge on a woman who may be the outsider’s mother. On the way to meet her, a series of murders threaten them – and they threaten each other.
Part horror, part magical realism, this novel is also a road story and an exploration of identity and sexuality. Kidnap, shape-shifting, murder and repressed sexuality permeate the story: one brother is openly gay, another represses his sexuality, a third is converting to Judaism, but all are responding to the figure of the father who warped their childhood and still threatens them after death.
Jake Barnes Senior, for all the sons are named for their father, speaks throughout the story in tight, internally alliterative prose which is a delight to read, and the careering journeys of the four Jake Barnes travelling to find themselves and find out the non-brother provide a snapshot of the seamier aspects of America. The reader has to work pretty hard to keep up with the identity shifts, but the ending provides a nice enough twist to reward the effort.
Kay Sexton is a fiction writer, editor and freelance journalist: she blogs about writing fiction here and has a regular column here.