” Because of the desire, see. In that sphere, of desire, in the energy you create between yourself and another person, a form of knowledge is created. Knowledge of you. Knowledge of the other person. See what I mean? That wanting, that mixed-up-with-sex-no-matter-how-infrequently-you-get-it thing. ” [22:424]
Reviewing Hex is just as challenging as reading it. The wide range of topics that the novel touches on: spirits, sex, politics, and physics, imbues in the writing a style that takes a little getting used to at first. The loom on which Darieck Scott weaves the cloth is one of witchcraft and supernatural forces. Set in Miami in the near future, two graduate students, Langston and Azaril, search for their missing friend Damian, a handsome and charismatic seducer who has disappeared into thin air. His disappearance also coincides with eerie sightings of the dead Fidel Castro. The path to which their search has subjected them is by no means conventional. With the help from Langston’s aunt, Reginia, a renowned psychic, whose cryptic warnings guide them on a quest that takes them to various locales and enmeshes them in the investigation of Damian’s family history.
Simple things. Obvious things—because if you can’t observe the obvious, you’ll never achieve an understanding of the more elusive realities. [1:3]
When the narrative slips into the elusive realities, the novel becomes challenging to read. It echoes that surreal magical realism of Satanic Verses but is more accessible. The different places Langston and his entourage is a stable well, a quantum well as defined in physics, that penetrates and traverses space and time, accessing elusive realities tugged away in ultra high energy states. Sorcery is put into the context of science in a very shrewd manner. The story simply pushes over the edge of horror and supernatural without getting bogged down by technical descriptions. Scott delicately maintains the balance between the real and the unimaginable with a tale of love.
Langston abhors this—the routine of everyday love. Not that he’s naive; he knows that the brick and mortar of relationships consists of the everyday. But he’s romantic. He wants love to be something that’s always palpable, always trembling in his body . . . The satisfactions of requited love he barely understands; it’s the intoxication of being in love, of being overwhelmed from within that he honors, that he wants to arrest and hold like a quantum physicist struggling to a stop a streaming photon in its tracks. [8:168]
See how Scott meets ends meet—never leaving any bundles untied. All his ideas, no matter how out-there they seem at the first glance, converge and integrate into his story. Hex is a very witty construct on desire, which is explored very thoroughly through the context of emotions, family, relationship, science, and witchcraft. The convoluted path that leads to solving Damian’s mystery is no less capricious than human desire. The book probes the core of humanity in the disguise of a science fiction.
601 pp. Trade paperback. [Read/Skim/Toss] [Buy/Borrow]