Jonathan Ames’ You Were Never Really Here

It’s no secret I’m an avid reader. Reading has been my #1 hobby since I was a kid and I’m never too far from a book. My usual forte is a good memoir, a tale of Hollywood history or a classic novel. I largely tend to stay away from crime fiction because, frankly, I’m a chicken. I don’t want to read about the seedy side of life – it’s bad enough seeing it on the news. That being said, when I was sent a copy of the latest Jonathan Ames, You Were Never Really Here, I was intrigued. A slim novella I figured it was just about as much darkness as I could handle and I dug in.

Clocking in at just under 100 pages it’s a compact tale that makes full use of its scant pages. Concerning an underground rescuer who’s abusive childhood has left him a damaged soul the story revolves around his rescue of a kidnapped daughter of a senator. But, as so often is the case, things aren’t exactly as they seem and Joe, the rescuer, faces his most challenging case yet.

After reading the description i wondered how such a tale could be told in a short story. I needn’t have been concerned. After proving himself adept at novels, memoirs and television series, Jonathan Ames has produced an intense, engrossing thriller that’s hauntingly heartbreaking. Reading it, I fell deep into the story and, though it is at times graphic and upsetting, I was able to finish it with ease. Coming from a wimp like me that’s saying something.

You Were Never Really Here has already been adapted into a film starring Joaquin Phoenix. It’s received much advanced praise (including prizes at the Cannes Film Festival) but I’m not sure if Ill be up to watching it. Baby steps.

Jonathan Ames, by Daniel Bergeron. IndieWire Influencer. 2015. No PR/No Release.

Here in a LA there are a couple of events centered around the book. Tonight Ames will be reading it live at Skylight Books in Los Feliz and on Saturday April, 28 there will be A Musical Celebration by The Bushwick Book Club at The Last Bookstore. I’m sure either will be well worth attending.

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