It’s hard to place where A Simple Thought of Sanity sits in terms of plot and genre. It feels less of a linear story and more like a loose web of existential reflection. The protagonist, for all intents and purposes, is Brutus, living a mundane existence in a futuristic city where everyone must wear masks—or Faces—at all times.
Obsession with cleanliness and consumerism has sterilised society of everything, from germs to emotions. A series of strange events disrupt Brutus’ normal life and lead him down a path that, ultimately, derails this whole orderly culture. Unfortunately, the new system becomes worse than the last—unsurprising, considering the severely restrained and disconnected people in came from.
The writing, imagery, characterisation, and overall messages are powerful to say the least. You feel relatable pangs again and again as you go through this surreal sequence of human experiences. The emotive and bizarro elements make A Simple Thought of Sanity quite the ride, toeing the line between reason and madness, reality and illusion, stability and transformation.
There are downsides, however. The book’s very intriguing plot sometimes becomes blurred and weak, especially under the weight of so much meaning and deviation from the core storyline. While I love narratives that keep me guessing, I can’t say that I was fully satisfied by the time I finished reading this one. There are definitely elements that could have been expanded or clarified further, if only to balance out the plot.
Flaws aside, I did very much enjoy A Simple Thought of Sanity. It’s mysterious, exciting, and harsh, often in a chillingly timely way. If nothing else, it’s also a very effective cautionary tale against losing your heart and individuality. Mildly echoing stories like 1984, Equilibrium, A Clockwork Orange, and even The Matrix, this is a great choice for fans of dystopian fiction.