by Paul McAuley
Review by John Berlyne
Simon & Schuster (Trade Division) Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 0743238877
Date: 05 September, 2005 List Price £12.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Mind's Eye is a fascinating and highly imaginative piece and centres around the effect particular images or glyphs have on the human mind. Riding along on a London bus one afternoon, street photographer Alfie Flowers spots some graffiti which quite literally almost blows his mind. The graphic unlocks in Alfie a number of suppressed memories - he remembers seeing a similar glyph whilst sneaking around his late grandfather's office as child. Indeed, the occasional epilepsy he suffers from can be traced back to that childhood moment - and now here is the same image, scrawled on the windows of some London convenience store.
This confusing recognition prompts Alfie to delve into his past - what are these powerful and disturbing shapes and what did they have to do with his grandfather? With the help of a journalist friend, Alfie attempts to find out who it is that is reproducing these graffiti glyphs all over the city. At the same time, he presses his elderly grandmother for some explanation. Both strands of this investigation turn up some uncomfortable leads, and the story moves into darker and more dangerous territory as the power of the glyphs becomes clear. With the involvement of ruthless killers who will stop at nothing to control the use the glyphs and the British Secret Service intent on preventing that from happening, Alfie finds himself caught in the crossfire. The truth behind the glyphs lies in post-war Iraq, country of chaos and anarchy and a fitting location for the climax of Mind's Eye to take place.
Enormously satisfying, Mind's Eye offers the reader a thought-provoking, compulsive and engrossing thriller and serves as another solid reminder of McAuley's equally solid writing.