Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Evolution of Thomas Hall

By Kieth Merrill

Thomas Hall is an artist with astonishing talent- and a vainglorious sense of self. Since his days as a child prodigy he has reveled in recognition and believed in his inevitable destiny. Chosen. Entitled. He presumes his artistic brilliance deserves a lavish life of independence, fast cars and drop-dead gorgeous women. Thomas Hall wants it all and more.
Destiny has other plans. When “Cass,” the woman from the Healing Place, walks into his life, nothing can ever be the same again.
Thomas finds himself faced with a challenge he could never have imagined, suspended between the snarling beasts of his fanciful imagination that belie the existence of God and the undaunted faith of a little girl named Christina. What he discovers about the child’s harrowing escape from death- and the impossibility of what happened at the bottom of the cliff- brings him face-to-face with the most frightening question of his life.

Do you believe in God? That's the question that everyone seems to be asking Thomas Hall lately. He doesn't get why it's so important, yet he is unnerved and desperately wants to keep living in agnostic bliss. An incredibly talented artist, Thomas is comissioned to paint the evolution of man at a science museum, and at the same time a mural depicting Jesus Christ for a children's wing in a hospital. Thomas has always put 100% of himself into his work, but has drifted toward fantasy and comercial art versus the higher art that everyone seems to think he capable of. This book follows Thomas' evolution from egotistical artist to a gentle gifted soul. This book was very very well written. There are a lot of references to pop-culture (Mr. Merrill is a movie producer) and the characters are all too believable as individuals. There was a lot of research done for this book. I particularly enjoyed how Thomas sees everyone as blocked off pieces of art with specific colors used in oil painting. Thomas' evolution is very personal and believable and touching. There was only 1 thing that truly makes me caution the reader. There are quite a few instances at the start where religious references are made in a crude and disrespectful way; particularly about Jesus Christ. There is also some swearing. I admit, I started skipping the tirades of the Darwin-loving scientist who hated all religious minded people. It was pretty aweful for anyone even slightly religious. Other than that, this book was very good and gives one warm-fuzzies at the end.

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