Nihilist 5.0 by G.P.Grewal

According to the dictionary a nihilist is a person who believes human existence has no objective meaning, purpose or intrinsic value and this certainly applies to the protagonist of Nihilist 5.0 - Frank. He is a miserable 34-year-old slave to his tedious day-job in Los Angeles and I presume that the 5.0 in the title refers to working five days a week. Frank's evenings and weekends are usually spent alone in his apartment except when he enters a make-believe world of heroic fantasy to which he escapes with his geeky friends while playing "Dungeons and Dragons". What he yearns for is romance and a chance encounter in the real world encourages Frank to think that he might have met someone. Is there hope for Frank? Well you will have to read the novel for yourself to find that out.

I have really mixed feelings about this book and at times had to push myself to read it. Yet, 48 hours after reaching the last page I was still thinking about it. The writing is bleak, depressed, at times depressing yet giving a powerful insight into Frank's lonely and unhappy existence. It is definitely not a "feel-good" book and at times you get too close to some of Frank's more unappealing habits. I am still not sure about the ending. It was rather left to the reader to decide and I don't think it was a very happy one.

My problem with getting into the book was the "Dungeons and Dragons" stuff but I guess that any reader who enjoys that sort of thing will be ok with this aspect. As far as the "Dungeons and Dragons" writing is concerned it gets really interesting stylistically. The accounts of the fantasies are dull and pedestrian in the early part of the book but by the end they are interesting and almost poetic. As Frank's life gets worse and worse, the fantasy gets better and better. I don't know anything about "Dungeons and Dragons" and can't get my head round a group of adults meeting together to play like this but in Nihilist 5.0 it provides a vivid counterpoint to the awfulness of Frank's daily life.

Overall Nihilist 5.0 is a well written and well presented e-book which I downloaded for free and despite my early difficulties getting into it, I am pleased that I persevered and read it through to the end.