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A Voyage beyond Reason: Tom Gauthier

September 24, 2009

He Dared to Dream an Impossible Dream.He Risked Body and Soul to Make it Real.



On September 13, 1996, twenty four year old Benjamin Wade set out on a solo voyage in a tiny sea kayak. As he pushed off from the shores of San Felipe, his goal lay 6,000 miles away – and deep within his own soul. The chance discovery of his journals, buried on a Colombian cliff above the sea, uncovered a mystery which took many years to finally solve. His journals tell of misery and elation, of triumph and failure, of insight and insanity. Follow the events which will forge his character, and follow the mind of a young man set on achieving a dream that no amount of misfortune can dissuade him from reaching…on a journey that challenges his survival, and brings him face to face with himself.

Tom Gauthier weaves the word pictures and intimate thoughts of Benjamin Wade into a gripping story of the struggle for survival and the reshaping of a young life in a way that few of us could imagine.

As with so many of the books I’ve reviewed here, Tom Gauthier’s A Voyage Beyond Reason: An Epic of Survival Based on the Original Journals of Benjamin Wade is let down by the writing, which is often overdone and frequently relies on clever tricks rather than on good writing to make the author’s point. I found inconsistencies in the tense used; an intrusive amount of passive voice; a couple of contradictions in the text, and homophone substitutions; there were several missing hyphens and the author would do well to cut his comma-use by half. But what irritated me most was the significance with which Benjamin Wade’s name was used in the early parts of the text: this implied that I should know who he was, but no information about him was given to support that implication.

Despite that, this is one of the better books I’ve looked at here. With a strong edit it could be vastly improved and it has real potential to make a fascinating read if that is done: but as it is, I found my fifteen mistakes within its first seven pages. A shame.

  1. October 1, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    A serious thanks for the analysis. I'm curious about your comments as my editors were a college English prof, a newspaper managing editor and two internationally published novelists. Without seeing your mark-up of 7 pages, perhaps your "comma concern" came from my free use of cumulative syntax (best explained by Francis Christensen and Dr. Brooks Landon. Adding modifier phrases to a base clause strives to match a readers breathing pattern as the dramatic arc ascends – much like poetry. Over 100 full reviews of this book have established its efficacy. The universal "complaint" has been that one should be warned that they "will not be able to put it down . . ."I'd love to see your grammar "mark-up"! (tomgauthier@gotsky.com)Tom Gauthierauthor – A Voyage Beyond Reason,Code Name: ORION'S EYE, and MEAD'S TREK (Nov '09)

  2. October 10, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Tom, I'm afraid I don't have time to type up all the notes I made and email them to you: but I can promise you that if I had found your comma-use effective no matter how unconventional it was, I'd not have pointed to it here.As for the editors you used, I notice that not one of them was a fiction editor, or even a book editor: perhaps that's why your book needs more work. I'm curious: did they give you general comments about part of the book, or did they all comment on the entire work? And at what level did they edit your work: did they beta-read it for you? Did any of them give you a full line-edit or structural edit? Did they copy-edit it for you? Or did they proof-read it? These are all different things and it's wise to distinguish between them.

  3. October 25, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Hi Jane! Passing on the good news that I received the following!:"It is my pleasure to tell you that your book, A Voyage Beyond Reason in the Mainstream / Literary Fiction category, has been chosen as an Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest 17th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards. Your book will be promoted in the March/April issue of Writer’s Digest."I truly apreciate your detailed "technical" analysis. Can't tell yet whether it's a style thing or what. But I am being more cognizant of punctuation – sometimes choosing to go with some technical goofs in favor of "readers excited breathing patterns". Tom

  4. November 13, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Tom, sorry it's taken me so long to approve your comment: I don't seem to have received the email notifications I should have done, and you got stuck in the backlog I'm afraid.Congratulations on your honourable mention: that's really good news. I hope you go on to great success.As for your punctuation–it's always good when writers go out of their way to improve their work, so again, well done. If you're keen on working to improve even further you might want to read the Absolute Write thread called "Learn Writing with Uncle Jim" which I've linked to today on my main blog: it's a fabulous resource for writers who want to improve no matter what their standards. I've gained a lot from it, as have many others I know.

  5. November 13, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Here's a link to the thread I just mentioned–hope it's of interest:http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6710

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