Once in a while, a story comes up that completely blows the reader’s mind, and Newer Testaments by Philip Brunetti is one of such stories. The author presents a nameless protagonist, someone who has been through some sort of rehab, comes out and loses his wife, and is deeply convinced that he is on a religious mission to find twelve disciples and what inspires him is a twist that is as fascinating as it is disturbing. While the narrator is engrossed in his thoughts, he has a strong sense of what is happening around him. Follow him on a journey as he encounters quirky characters, some written with strong Biblical hints like the Jesus Girl who has fascinated him for a long time. Can he re-discover himself and connect to a mission that brings clarity and purpose to his life?
This is an engrossing read, and while the plot isn’t linear, the story portrays, and in a compelling manner, the mindscapes of someone who is delusional. At times, it feels like a dream, and while the nameless protagonist appears to have a distorted notion of reality, the author uses him to explore the uncharted regions of our sub-conscious mind. The plot structure reflects the flux of ideas that go through the sick mind of the narrator. Quite often, we encounter characters who are mentally healthy and logical, but Philip Brunetti’s creation is one that struggles to establish the fine-line separating fiction from reality, and the author writes this character in a way that is real and that allows readers to experience the tension of mental struggle. Newer Testaments features strong and compelling spiritual themes, at times absurd, at times replete with realistic moments and imagery that floods the imagination of the reader. It is far from a breezy read, but it is bold in its invitation to understand the chaos that can invade the human mind many a time. The quirkiness in the narrative voice rubs off powerfully on the reader, and it does so in an irresistible manner. And that is the most powerful element of this unusually gripping tale.