The Draftsman is a story straightforward in overall theme, but is written with an incredible focus on detail. Some authors leave you to decide what or how the characters form, but in this book, every detail of each character and the interaction in the story is richly laid out for you. This by no means lessens the read, in fact it is nice to indulge in the language used and not have to work too hard building images in your head. Whilst reading the story, knowing the specific details of each character allows you imbue the whole storyline without guessing the direction of the theme or road the author is taking you down. You easily get into the connections between the lead character Martin Cox and feel how he wrestles with the issues in his life. You see Martin come out of his shell as he gets deeper and deeper discovering the new property he has purchased and this in turn leads to the twist every good story has at its conclusion. I would thoroughly endorse a read of The Draftsman, it was a book I felt I needed to read cover to cover.
Isn’t that lovely? Much appreciated. Thank you Brian Sims, reader.
I don’t how you did in school? Me? I was an average kid. Usually given the yard stick of looking up to my high achieving cousins by my well-meaning parents. But as is often said, everyone has their own unique talents and therefore just because maths or metalwork, languages or technical drawing isn’t your thing, doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Usually by the time you graduate college you will have found your true calling.
Some people may discover their unique talents earlier than most, because of being gifted or highly intelligent. This often leads to problems with socially interaction with their peers or being unable to develop loving relationships, unless they find someone or a group of other high achieving likeminded individuals. Usually, they turn into loners because no one can relate to them or understand what internal struggles they are dealing with. Thus, everyday routines that you and I may carry out almost naturally can be seen as a hurdle. Dealing with the complexities of being gifted is the main story of this months third book review, its The Draftsman by Laurel Lindstrom and published by Unbound (www.unbound.com) on the 21st April 2021.
Martin Cox is an untrained, but gifted, draftsman, in his early twenties, who has become quite wealthy due to a number of shrewd technical designs. But he’s also damaged by his parents protective care and is obsessive as a result of his superior intellect. When he purchases Shadowhurst a large estate in the West Country as both an investment and a way of finding peace and tranquillity for his overactive mind, he soon discovers that there is more than a bit of history to it, and as a result he finds an outlet to occupy his mind, researching its history.
At five pages short of two hundred, this book is not to far off being a novella. Is it a one sitting read? That depends on the reader. For me, the first quarter of the book didn’t really do much and I had feelings of entering The Milkman territory – which I had to throw down after twenty pages. With The Draftsman, I felt adrift and unable to find a footing, but persevered and shortly afterwards when the back story about how Martin made his money was being told, I fell in love with it and from then on it made a lot of sense.
Martin is a beautifully written and a very believable troubled character trying to cope with his foibles and weird mannerisms, and as he starts to slowly overcome them, you feel happy and even emotional at times. Any fear you might have for him dissipates near the end as you realise he has some very good friends and family, including his old boss, Bill, who sees what a complicated character he is due to his high level of intellect, but slowly allows him to move from being just an office tea boy, to a skilled and much sought after draftsman.
There is also the unrequited love storyline that takes place between Martin and his financial advisor Joshua. You get the feeling, Joshua wants something to happen, but in the end, Martin just too wrapped up in himself to notice.
Meanwhile the research that Martin takes on, around the history of Shadowhurst is straightforward, but the mystery that surrounds one particular part of it is lovely and excellently revealed at the end.
This is the debut novel of English author, technical writer, and journalist Laurel Lindstrom (www.laurellindstrom.org) . She’s written a number of collections of short stories in the past as well two books of nonfiction Internet for Beginners (1997) and Past, Print, Future (2018). She has a degree in linguistics from UCLA and is a visiting professor at the Shenzhen Technical University in China. She currently lives in east Sussex.
So, if you are looking for short, but heart-warming read about a gifted individual that, then take up a pen and write a note reminding yourself that next time you are in your local bookshop to look out for it or put an order in.
‘The Draftsman’ by Laurel Lindström is a unique and beautiful story. We are introduced to a damaged and highly intelligent man – Martin who buys Shadowhurst, a large estate in the West Country to hopefully find some peace for his busy mind. The history soon becomes apparent so he begins to research the rich background of the place he calls home. Laurel Linström has created a beautiful character with Martin and I could empathise with his struggle to deal with his personal issues such as his odd mannerisms.
A highly gifted man he has grown up under his extremely protective parents and his obsessiveness comes with his gifts. Some people have that struggle as they grow up. They have problems communicating emotions and peer to peer friendships which leads to social isolation also. This is because other people cannot understand the turmoil the highly gifted experience in normal situations for everyone else. This issue is one of the main themes of the story. As the story unfolds we are taken to how Martin made his money in the past and that in itself gave me an understanding that helped everything to slot into place from that point on.
Martin Cox is a brilliant but untrained draftsman in his early twenties. He is rich, damaged, obsessive. Shadowhurst Hall, remote, desolate and forgotten, exerts a peculiar pull. The country landscape, a world of shades and shadows, both confuses and beguiles Martin, a man more comfortable in black and white, with facts and numbers.
As he explores the house, the landscape and its history it leads him on a journey – back in time to two world wars, and forwards, unexpectedly, towards a healing. A novel of memory and history, and of the scars left by unacknowledged damage and how they can shape us, The Draftsman is also a story of renewal.
Wow. This is an absolutely stunning novel. Beautifully written. Laurel captures the vice like grip of anxiety and the shadow it casts over a life just brilliantly. Trauma and memories from the past have a hold over Martin. It is something he will never talk about, there is no resolution. But this story shows his journey through the darkness, how he emerges blinking, slowly finding acceptance and life. Upon entering Shadowhurst Hall, his world shifts slightly and he is disorientated. His view changes in more ways than one and suddenly he is able to look out past the trauma, able to face different situations.
Upon first glance this is such an unassuming novel but, oh my goodness, what an absolute gem it is. It is stunning and wonderfully unique. The cover image grabbed me initially. It packs such as strong visual pull and then of course the synopsis, mysterious and with the intrigue of the house and surroundings – I just couldn’t wait to read it.
I absolutely devoured it. The prose is beautifully constructed. Laurel has a degree in Linguistics and you can see how much she loves (and breathes) language. It isn’t a novel to rush though, but one to savour whilst you slowly digest every single morsel.
“Martin looked back at the lake lying smooth in the still, dead air, its uncertain shades and shadows rimmed with weedy debris. He didn’t see the seasonless, lifeless memories of long-gone summers shivering on its surface. Nor did he see that close to the tired fence, the twisted grasping fingers of bare trees were writing long-forgotten secrets in old blacks and sepias against a miserable sky. Martin’s cigarette burned down in a series of tiny pops and hisses, masking the whispers hanging momentarily in the desolate grey air. As he stared out at the baffle of the landscape he felt a curious sense of erosion, a creeping, unidentifiable darkness. He looked again at the shades and shadows but only saw the lines between black and white.”
Dripping with metaphor we see Martin’s state of mind through his surroundings. He spends his time between his London flat – a place where he smokes heavily, rarely cleans and lives in squalor and Shadowhurst Hall the complete opposite. Whilst at Shadowhurst he doesn’t smoke and has a cleaner every day to keep the place spotless. It is almost as though he is trying to cleanse his soul – to break free whilst he is there. Martin is a strange, damaged character who has built his own coping abilities to deal with the shadows in his past. This story is an awakening of not only Martin, but also of Shadowhurst Hall and the secrets locked away in the past.
For me, this story was unforgettable. It was incredibly moving and touched a part of my soul. There is much darkness but you feel the mist lifting as the novel progresses and the story is ultimately filled with hope and light. Thoroughly recommended.
My thanks go out to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and to the publisher for sending me a review copy. I know this will be a novel I will return to again and again. It is available on both eBook and in paperback. I do hope that one day an audiobook will be available, the prose written hear cries out to be read aloud.
A house means more than a place to live. It is a place that often breathes in and out the souls of his past and present inhabitants. There are not only walls and wood and concrete, but real humans who lived there and therefore left their spiritual imprints and shared their stories within those walls.
The Draftsman, the debut novel by Laurel Lindström, explores the impact of a story shared within the precincts of a house into the life of the new owner. Martin Cox is the right match for being the recipient of the story: gifted but afraid of his own gifts, intelligent and rich. By buying the property in Shadowhurst Hall he is becoming not only the owner of a piece of real estate, but of a story he is decided to explore and put his genius mind at work, trying to understand its message and search for the characters.
Personally, I’ve found the idea of the book fascinating, and the same goes for the main character. The writing is precise, intelligent and poetic with beautiful descriptions and evocative passages. Sometimes, the dialogues do not fit well into the story and are not easy to follow and maybe the elaboration of the story is not necessarily punctilious but overall, it has a captivating thread which does not let you say “good bye” until done.
The Draftsman ignites the kind of curiosity that is not necessarily the result of a certain pace or built-in emotional suspense, but due to the inherent stroke of personality of the characters. The strangeness – both of the story and of the characters – are wrapped in a beautiful wording and that’s in my case the recipe for keeping me interested in reading a book in one sitting. A note of appreciation for the cover which is really special and illustrates in a very creative outstanding way the chore of the book. It’s not happening very often therefore it deserves the praise. Rating: 4 stars
Rachel Reads 1983 Instagram @rachel_reads_1983 is one of Instagram’s most prolific readers and reviewers. Rachel reads at an absolutely dizzying pace, and this is what she says about The Draftsman.
A Review of The Draftsman
Today I’m kicking off the booktour for The Draftsman by Laurel Lindström. Thank you so much to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for letting me be a part of it.
Martin Cox is a brilliant but untrained draftsman in his early twenties. He is rich, damaged, obsessive, binary.
Shadowhurst Hall, remote, desolate and forgotten, exerts a peculiar pull. The country landscape, a world of shades and shadows, both confuses and beguiles Martin, a man more comfortable in black and white, with facts and numbers.
As he explores the house, the landscape and its history it leads him on a journey back in time to two world wars, and forwards, unexpectedly, towards a healing. A novel of memory and history, and of the scars left by unacknowledged damage and how they can shape us, The Draftsman is also a story of renewal.
This was a really impressive debut and such a fascinating read. The cover is absolutely stunning and is a really great metaphor for the book itself. There were elements of humour in the book but, through Lindström’s skilful writing, and through a small cast of characters, also poignancy and loss.
Haunting, heartfelt and beautifully written, this book deserves to be read and savoured. The Draftsman is truly something different and is out now.