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The Friends of Allan Renner

The Friends of Allan Renner

By: Dave J. Andrae
Publisher: Kaji-Pup Press
Publication Date: November 2020
ISBN: ‎ 978-1-64970-128-2
Reviewed By: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Review Date: July 26, 2021

A thoroughly modern man with a variety of fascinating friendships becomes the focus for something entirely different, in this panoramic plot-twister by debut novelist Dave J. Andrae.

It is clear from the beginning that the book’s title is a literal description of its narrative. Told in seven segments as briefly described in the Introduction, Renner’s saga involves the influence of seven presences – one being his rowdy canine companion, the only creature selected to be with him through most of his adventures and misadventures. Andrae introduces Akhil, an Indian semi-mystic who tipsily tips Renner off about the possibility of something like miracles; Sadie, an erstwhile smalltime singing star who has remained attached to Renner over the years; Fred, a cinematographer who encourages and impacts the young man’s artistic bent; Carmen, another musician with the undertones of love ever present in her vibrant persona; Renner’s parents, Phillip and Alice, nurturing their own secret sorrows and hopes for their son; and Ruby, the faithful pooch. One last player in this dynamic tale will appear out of the blue - and Renner will join him there.

Renner, the reader will learn, is a seemingly ordinary human being who attracts extraordinary attention because of his willingness to consider just about every possibility for how life can be organized, freely criticizing hostile and small-minded approaches and, in his own quiet manner, admiring and rewarding the glimmers of love and sharing that come his way. This singular quality, a refusal, it could be said, to mingle with the mob, will take him farther than he could ever have imagined, and the reader will be happy to join him on the journey.

The book begins with the rather dissolute and very hip Renner approaching mid-life and postulating his death and how others might react to it. It ends when others might well imagine that he has passed – but to where? And how? With a fine grasp of dialogue and his filmmaker’s skill for hundreds of swift scene changes, Andrae moves and shakes his hero through lively encounters that will keep the reader wondering what can happen next, and - by the end – begging for a sequel.

Quill says: The Friends of Allan Renner is an intriguing bundle of cross-threaded notions creating a unique tapestry, displaying author Andrae’s talents as a yarn spinner and story weaver.

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