Book Review: The Psychic’s Memoirs
Ryan Hyatt, 271 pages
I had the pleasure of reading a draft of Ryan Hyatt’s The Psychic’s Memoirs in early 2019. Remember 2019? That feeling of disconnect with the world, but a hint of familiarity is what Hyatt excels at, and, strangely, what we all collectively lived through in 2020.
The richly envisioned world of The Psychic’s Memoirs is now much like our own; a cataclysmic event has altered society, leaving some in the dust and others just muddling through, but impacting everyone. Hyatt’s superior ability to build a convincing lived-in world just over the horizon is on display page after page. As 2020 progressed, I was drawn back to the dividing lines Hyatt drew over his post-quake Los Angeles. Lines that include both class warfare and real warfare, but life finds a path in spite of it.
Sound familiar? Like us, Hyatt’s characters struggle to find and feed their needs and desires as chaos swirls. As they grasped at hints and rumors of hope wrapped in a mystery around a teenage girl who may or may not have the ability to change the world, this reader realized that Hyatt’s goal is not a dystopian wasteland. This is not another orgy of post-apocalyptic horrors bent around a standard story arc. Hyatt has a different goal: for his characters (and for us) to see past that shortsightedness and imagine every dystopia may be a necessary stepping stone to utopia.
Why am I being opaque about the story? Because, like in our own lives, this story changes and grows as we progress through it. This is not a book for those that skip to the end to see whodunnit or the big fight; it’s an engrossing read for those that salivate over the details. Ones that, in this case, weave a web with Hyatt’s other novels in unexpected ways and provide payoffs for fans of his prose instead of genre tropes.
I strongly recommend reading Hyatt’s earlier novels before embarking on this journey, the last in an original trilogy, but hopefully not the last for these characters, or this writer!
A.L. Lorentz, Aug. 26, 2020