Book Review: A Reservoir Man by L. J. Ambrosio

There are times when you need a book to cure an ailment or just to take your mind off some worry. And there are books that have this thaumaturgical power to explain to us how life works or to reassure us about something. One of them, in my opinion, is A Reservoir Man by L. J. Ambrosio.

It wasn't so much the plot that struck me, but the style. A Reservoir Man caught me off guard as I thought I would be faced with something predictable. It is the story of Michael, a man on his way to life, who makes detours through social embarrassment, sexual assault, wars, scandals, and obsession.

His existential path lacks a landing place because the use of splitting mechanisms and the disruption of belonging make a lack of the necessary support for a possible integration, in a short circuit where ungovernable anxieties and identity fragility are nourished as he meets the men near a reservoir inspite of the reservations of his family.

It is the task of Michael to reinvent himself and the world, in a delicate mix of mourning and illusions as he begins his quest to go to the top of the reservoir. As soon as he reaches the reservoir, Michael realises that it was not the end but only the beginning.

Michael leads a wandering, vaguely bohemian and unconventional life. In the protagonist, the consolatory strategies that commonly protect narcissism by loosening the roughness of an unsatisfactory reality, slip up to imprisonment in a way of being that inhibits thoughts.

In this apparently intimate story, there is the very precise account of certain emotional short circuits, of that paralyzing energy that can be the family, of the always uncertain enterprise that is becoming a man.

The book takes us into the world of an untamed protagonist, as he fights quiet internal battles on the way to find a sense of himself. Throughout the book, the protagonist's relationships with each character lead to inevitable growth, no matter how painful.

One of the book's triumphs is the way Ambrosio describes these transitions with such realism. Just like in real life, the tensions that can build up over the years can be broken in one season. The descriptions are accurate and detailed, able to make you imagine without difficulty the exact scene in which the events described develop.

This book considers the connection between the bonding and functional modalities of a family and the aptitudes and problems of life. It also points out that a complex plot of subjective, relational, and social determinations that extend beyond the familiar that is operating at the same time.

The book opens the doors to the ethics of diversity and address the complexity of the human phenomenon. We see the generational transmission of meanings, as well as the circulation in the family of lies, secrets and truths, whose presence has a strong impact on the psyche and its pathologies.

It is the first novel I read by Ambrosio, and it was a pleasant surprise for me. A Reservoir Man has a captivating plot because since the beginning I was intrigued by the figure of Michael, this man who does not let himself be discovered, closed in a world of his own. His story proceeds freely, sowing unforgettable pebbles on the road.

I had no doubts that page after page I would be captured, not only by the male figure, but also by the other characters. In fact, another thing that I really appreciated was the descriptive writing of the author, the landscapes, the mountains, the lake, but also the internal warmth of the house.

The story is embellished with the presence of characters, discreet but impactful figures that add value to the whole context, without overshadowing Michael. All the protagonists of the novel, are perfectly described from the psychological point of view, allowing to create a remarkable empathy with the reader, who will try to discover where the vicissitudes of Michael will drag them.

With a style that distinguishes the author, Michael gives us intense moments and an energy that keeps us glued to the pages. The dialogues are brilliant and there is no lack of intense and tender moments.

This book is a dream, a gamble, a utopia, even. Or perhaps it is essential, evident, as something that can only be so. This book is a game, a risk, an elixir with magical substance, and wisdom, where silence and prayer read the imperceptible growth of the plant until its flowering, and then, until the luxuriant time of its fruits, after the freezing winter.

This book was a surprise for me, which at first seemed like the classic foregone reading, but going on I found deep emotions and precious reflections. It is a delicate book like a butterfly, full of instant epiphanies that thin out a moment later.

In it we experience a general story of not the exceptional, unforgettable and solemn moments, but the secondary, insignificant and minute things, where life really lurks, those little revelations of everyday life capable of standing out implausibly in the memory and that it is so difficult to describe.

Book Review A Reservoir Man L. J. Ambrosio

A Reservoir Man is ultimately a strange literary urchin, a little novel, a little autobiography, a little collection of short stories, a little philosophical essay, a little sociological treatise, a intertextual work. It is certainly a fragmentary and perfectly finished book that closes, with a perfect circularity, from where it started.

While the hero's journey is significant, the book is full of verve and humour, and the characters drawn with vitality. Whether you've experienced this episode in your life or not, you'll be basking in the summer haze of A Reservoir Man long after you've finished reading it.

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