Book Review: NVSQVAM, by Ann Sterzinger. 336 pages, 2nd Edition: April 2016.
I read the Kindle version. Review date: August 21, 2016.
Question: How dark can one go?
Answer: Read NVSQVAM.
NVSQVAM, latin for “Nowhere”, is a story of depression, regrets, a fixation on bad memories and a habit for bad choices, compounded by alcoholism and selfishness squared. It is a story about Lester, a PhD candidate and teacher’s assistant at Southern Illinois University who is married to a solid wife. They have an exceptional smart child. Lester is on the brink of success. He is about to reach his academic and career goal. But he finds, or creates, every reason not to cross the finish line. For every step Lester takes forward, he takes five back. For every up, he has five downs.
NVSQVAM has a 4.5 star rating at Amazon, no doubt for the quality of writing. Sterzinger is an excellent story-teller. You’ll read, and likely learn, plenty about the classics, life in rural Illinois, childhood in Wisconsin, and the struggles of graduate school. You will see Lester experience more adult problems than you will ever see yourself. And you’ll experience the thoughts and moods of a depressed man as he spirals. Endlessly.
Another oddity is Sterzinger’s use of footnotes-in-fiction. Quite funny, they also help the younger reader, or the reader from outside the MidWest, understand the humor and sarcasm in the story. I enjoyed these references having grown up in Illinois in the 70’s and 80’s, with plenty of time spent in Wisconsin. I do not, however, have knowledge of the classics, which may be one reason I feel like I’ve missed something within the story.
I took three pages of notes. But to share more would be to give too many spoiler hints. One question I planned to answer was, “Who is the target audience for NVSQVAM? My answer changed as I made my way through the story. I suspected one outcome or another with each new development. Now that I’ve finished the book, I don’t have an answer.
As of this review, there are two editions available. The 2nd edition is available in paperback. The author provided this to me in PDF, but I chose to read the Kindle version so I could mark pages and text. The Kindle version is still the first edition. The author tells me that the 2nd edition has some corrected typos. I don’t remember more than one or two total, a nice surprise from an Amazon author. One warning about the current Kindle version, however, is it is not edited for font size changes. I enlarged the text and page breaks and hard-wired hyphenations appeared everywhere. Hopefully that will be fixed when the Kindle version is updated.
Full Disclosure: Ann Sterzinger and I have been FB Comrades for a couple years now. I met her through Comrades Matt Forney and Aaron Clarey.
I’ve added NVSQVAM to the Ushanka Library at the left with a link to this review.
You can buy NVSQVAM at Amazon - here.