McDowell is another high quality work of literary fiction penned by author William H Coles, this time focusing on themes of privilege and the fall from grace. Our central character is the titular Hiram McDowell, an acerbic and selfish man who cares only for his immediate group of close family. A renowned surgeon, McDowell’s downfall begins when his grandson commits a heinous crime and is soon after found dead himself. The bottom falls out of the surgeon’s world when he finds himself jailed and relearning the true nature of humanity by experiencing life from a totally opposite angle to the world he was born into. What results is a powerful tale of transformation and a shift in perspective.
Author William H Coles uses his powers of character creation to tell a tragedy of epic proportions in this excellent addition to his body of work. McDowell, though highly despicable, is an engaging anti-hero to follow, full of scathing unpleasantness and arrogance, which makes his powerful fall all the more impactful. There’s fantastic atmospheric work and description throughout, but the plot really gets going once the fall occurs, at which point the emotional journey deepens and the philosophical and literal lessons of life are learned. Though this is largely a harrowing tale, the overall message is one of appreciation for the lives of others, their diversity, their pain and their perspectives, which makes for a brilliant reading experience. Overall, I would highly recommend McDowell for its literary prowess and startling emotional depth.