I have no idea how to summarize this novel, so I’m not even going to try. All I can say is that it’s kind of like Hannibal Lecter meets Vanilla Sky (2001). Andrew Smith described it to me as “acid on an acid trip.” I believe both references are adequate.
The Marbury Lens (2010) is one messed up, morbidly fascinating ride. Just like Jack was addicted to the glasses and his time in Marbury, I was addicted to this book and the interplay between both worlds. Smith’s unique twist on how people deal with trauma makes me wonder if we all have personal concepts of “reality” that are only known to us. For instance, there were several times that I wondered if Marbury was actually all in Jack’s head even though others could supposedly see it, too. Of course, Jack is an unreliable narrator, so I’m still not sure.
Although this was an intense read that I could not put down (I actually got irritated when people bothered me), this may not be for everyone. For instance, there is a significant amount of language, sexual acts, and violence throughout the entire novel. As a result, I would suggest this novel be reserved for mature readers who can place those elements in context.