Every Tuesday, get to know a bit about the stories behind the books you love, and discover your next favourite novel.
Sabitha: Today we’ll talk to Londoner Harisson Shaws about his debut novel, The Lonesome Road. Henry, can you introduce us to your book?
Harrison: Life as we know is gone. The once vivid city now stands abandoned. Earth became a wasteland, stripped of all life. Broken, confused, and in a desperate search for answers, one person still roams its desolate remains. The Wanderer has no memories, no recollection of the events that led to the end of the world. All he sees are deserted buildings and the smoke that covers the sun. While taking shelter in an abandoned house one night, the last man on Earth gets a knock on his door. He finds an unexpected guide in a woman who feels familiar.
Will he choose to keep traversing these lands, lost as before, or will he take her guidance to find the answers his heart so deeply desires?
Sabitha: Does your book touch on any social issues or topics?
Harrison: The main topics that are sprung throughout The Lonesome Road are mental health, mortality, and morality. In today;s age, it is ridiculous that mental health issues still carry a certain stigma. As someone who suffers from severe depression and anxiety, I felt obligated to write about these certain issues.
People are left in fear of opening up to even those closest to them. Without the ability to share the burden, it burrows even deeper inside of them, rotting their core as they become even more hurt, desperate, and confused. Without a helping hand, we are forced, same as our main protagonist, to wander the world searching for answers that are on the end of a hard and difficult road. To get to them, we are at risk of corrupting the image of the world we hold and the image of our own self, our own worth, and our ideals. With someone who would dare to understand, the world would seem less grim.
There are questions of morality and mortality, what really is evil and what is good, are there such things, or is the world much more complicated, as both are mere matters of perspective?
The book also touches on topics of humanity and moral compass, are we bound to do good within the borders of set norms? If those who are higher do not abide, how can we be judged by someone who has the same or even worse sins than ourselves? One of the final questions that the book tries to ask is the question of destiny and hope. What is destiny, really? If destiny is real, does anything we do really matter? The Wanderer presents a curious take on it, saying that destiny is two points in time, one set and final we can’t affect (our birth) and the other ever-changing (our death). The path in between as we walk determines how our death will be, further saying that the point of life is a good death. But can we really rely on an opinion of a cynical narcissist that is our main protagonist?
Sabitha: What are some interesting facts about you that others might not know?
Harrison: I speak five languages. I spent some time of my childhood in Hamburg, Germany. I started writing at the age of 9, and I still remember parts of that fantasy I created, even though who knows where that notebook I wrote in is. Fitting that after all, I’ve been through, I am here, as a writer, feeling that this is my true calling. Before writing, I spent some time working as a video editor, but my love of writing was bigger than the one for editing.
Sabitha: Thanks for sharing your story and your values. We’re looking forward to reading! Where can the Night Beats community find you and your book?