Strangers are Just Friends you Haven’t Killed Yet by Ryan Bracha is one hell of a book to review.
At some points this book had me frustrated, at others delighted. Ryan has a unique ‘voice’ and utilises the written words with bravery, imagination, originality and barely any regard for the conventional techniques for forming a compelling narrative, and it doesn’t half work for him.
Mixing narrative styles and using a variety of methods to show, rather than tell, Bracha picks away at the world he’s created, gradually exposing the reader to a piece at a time. Whilst Ryan’s book is not perfect, it meanders a bit too much for me at times and could do with a little editorial tightening up throughout, his enthusiasm, insightful characterisation and understanding of what motivates flawed people drives his story forward with force and pulls you into his world. And what a world it is.
I rarely read work as original as Bracha’s and whilst this book has some minor flaws, Bracha’s later novels show a writer who is improving with each word he writes but who is maintaining those exciting quirks that make his writing so fresh and engaging.
Ryan is the literary equivalent of Jack White. A force of personality, passion and talent, who can’t stop being productive. Often with White, some puzzling work emerges, but in the sheer torrent of productivity, both White and Bracha are the kind of talent who stretch themselves and take minds and their art to places that less brave creatives wouldn’t dare. In this regard Bracha excels and seems to me in his creative storm and unrelenting development as a writer to be a bastard offspring of said Mr White, Irvine Welsh and Chuck Palahniuk.
Ryan is a great advert for why the Indie-Author route is so valuable for some writers. A book like this one and a writer like Bracha would struggle to be anything but ignored by mainstream publishers, consigned to the ‘not-marketable’ pile simply for being so daring, non-conformist and for dancing to his own literary tune.
What a shame that would be.
I’m looking forward to watching this very talented writer continue to develop his literary muscles and continue to write great stories the way he wants to.
You can find Ryan and his books here