Antisense-R.P. Marshall


Masterfully descriptive! R.P. Marshall excels at metaphor and imagery.

I am in love with the style of this novel. Every word is carefully chosen to paint an image. The contrast between the despair of a poor marriage and the beauty of a new love are sublime. This literary work combines suspense, drama, and science to create an compelling and emotional story.

“Without daring to look up, I summoned a waitress and asked for directions to the restroom where I washed with a rigour Pilate would have been proud of.”

The narrator is a dysfunctional wreck, going through the motions of life without any real connection to those around him. Not his parents, nor his wife. Not even his colleagues. But when Erin comes to work in his department at the University, he’s a flustered schoolboy again, tripping over himself to impress her and gain her interest while she spurns his advances.

Genetic science is touched upon as the narrator’s line of work. He is forced to cater to corporations for money, leading him to falsify data for a presentation, data he insists must be flawed, despite the fact that the tests with sense and antisense probes have been conducted repeatedly with unchanging results. Evolution is not just about traits that are passed by rigid genes from one generation to the next, but there is the possibility that behaviors practiced by adults alter the genes and those alterations pass through heredity as well.

“Our offspring inherit the very physical and mental adaptations the environment forces us to make in order to survive, rather than be at the whim of some random genetic event when an unsuspecting ovum is ambushed down a dark fallopian alley.”

This book looks at life through the lens of fractured dreams and fallible memory. We are never really quite certain of the truth as we travel forward through time, and our version of the truth may not be the same as that of someone else. Our narrator, Daniel, struggles to reconcile what he feels is right with actual events, both present and past.

That being said, there were a couple of moments in the center of this book where I was completely confused as to the purpose of certain scenes, as though the character did a sharp 90 degree turn off of his intentions. (Not a complete 180, because he was certifiably disturbed from the beginning.) I was left pondering these scenes well into the end of the novel, but eventually everything came back together with a knot, albeit a frayed knot.

Warning: There are a few explicitly adult scenes.

 5 Stars!!!

What a wonderful book with which to end my year! R.P. Marshall has a mastery of poetic prose, with each and every word intended to describe and depict the perfect scene.
So many parts of this book were beautiful in the way the words were selected. This is just one of the passages I highlighted that struck me in particular. I could have highlighted the entire book.
They call it climate control, but the machines they nail to our walls neutralise the climate, lending the air the same featureless quality as the decor.
The author’s word choices seemed intended to cast the mood in that of someone feeling miserable for his life, but in a way that the misery has been so long on the shoulders that it is simply the way of life. The protagonist is hunched against the world, against his father’s death, against is alcoholic wife, against the mundanity of his job.

Antisense is available on


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