“All superheroes get their powers from somewhere. A radioactive spider bite. A science experiment gone awry. I got mine from a surfing accident in Tofino. The ultimate wipeout. I woke up with the most powerful mind on the planet, but a body like a wet paper bag . . .”
Meet Westlake Soul, a twenty-three-year-old former surfing champion. A loving son and brother. But if you think he’s just a regular dude, think again; Westlake is in a permanent vegetative state. He can’t move, has no response to stimuli, and can only communicate with Hub, the faithful family dog. And like all superheroes, Westlake has an archenemy: Dr. Quietus—a nightmarish embodiment of Death itself.
Westlake dreams of a normal life—of surfing and loving again. But time is running out; Dr. Quietus is getting closer, and stronger. Can Westlake use his superbrain to recover . . . to slip his enemy’s cold embrace before it’s too late?
In this wry, heartbreaking fantasy, Youers explores the dark landscape of a healthy mind trapped in an unresponsive body … deftly captur[ing] the voice and raw emotion of a young man struggling to delay the inevitable.
[Westlake Soul draws] a fine domestic portrait of a tight-knit family under pressure while asking compelling questions about the nature of consciousness … and what it means to be human.
After reading this thematically deep, emotionally super-charged, and utterly unforgettable novel, you will see the world – and your life – in a different light. Westlake Soul is a novel to be cherished because it reminds us all not only just how impermanent life is but also how awe-inspiring and heartbreakingly beautiful every moment of our existence can – and should – be.
This imaginative mix of fantasy and reality combines highly dramatic subject matter with a narrative touch that is surprisingly light and funny. The ending, though, is haunting and more than a little emotionally charged. A daring and completely successful book.
Westlake Soul is a novel of astonishing beauty and skill. In every generation there are writers who can reveal the souls of the characters that live inside their stories while simultaneously laying bare the secrets of the reader’s own heart, if only to them. Rio Youers is such a writer, and Westlake Soul—with all its pain, terror, beauty, wonder, and redemption—is such a novel: a classic in the making by an unforgettable, major new voice in speculative fiction.
Rio Youers is one of the reasons why I’m incredibly excited about, and optimistic for, the future of horror fiction. If you haven’t read his work before then start right here! Westlake Soul is a novel about the very essence of what it is to be human. Numinous, poignant and achingly emotional, it is both deeply tragic and soaringly life- affirming.