FeaturedComing of Age

The Essence of Nathan Biddle

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A remarkably written and strongly captivating story capturing the essence of Existentialism and the pursuit of meaning in an absurd world.

Frankly speaking, there's scarcely been an occasion where I've gotten myself to read a work of fiction in the course of my studies. Among the hundreds of books I've been reading the past couple years, I've hardly read other works in the genre than Paradise Lost by John Milton, Inferno by Dante Alighieri, as well as a hundred pages or so into Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. It has thus mainly been in non-fiction philosophical works (like Kierkegaard) I've previously been exploring the deep ideas the world and humanity has offered for us to ponder about. Despite my preference for non-fiction books, however, I still think fictional works can work wonders in providing insights from philosophy and human nature in a more illustrious and vivid manner if done appropriately. As the linguist S.I. Hayakawa explained in Language in Thought and Action, "Literature is the most exact expression of feelings, while science is the most exact kind of reporting."


The present work by J. William Lewis, i.e. The Essence of Nathan Biddle, strongly appealed to me as a fictional book precisely because of its philosophical prominence, and I was very impressed by how incredibly well it had been written as I kept reading through it. The core philosophical principles and ideas in the book, most of which are based in Existentialism, are firmly embodied in the plot and characters, and the flow of the writing is flawless and can keep the interested reader strongly captivated in the story at hand. Not only that, but the author also shows himself to have some deep comprehension of many different fields of knowledge as he captures the various scenes in vivid, extensive, and realistic details, fueling the reader's sense of wonder and connection to the story. Involving a curious mystery from the start, the book manages to maintain a strong sense of excitement for the reader throughout its 400 pages by providing increasingly more clues on the way.


It seems thus that Lewis has pretty much mastered the skill of writing fiction, and I'm sure he'll stand to become a very successful author in the field if he keeps performing as excellently as he has in the present work. I highly recommend this book both to those who enjoy reading fiction books with captivating story lines for pleasure and those who may be interested in exploring philosophical themes (such as Existentialism) through fictional works.

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Avid reader curious to always learn more about human nature and the world at large. Our capacity of reason allows us to explore these wonders, hence Pascal's assertion that "Man is obviously made to think. It is the whole of his dignity, his whole merit; and his whole duty is to think as he ought."

About the author

The author is a lawyer, a graduate of Spring Hill College (A.B. magna cum laude, English and Philosophy), and the School of Law at the University of Virginia (J.D.), editor of the literary magazine in college and on the editorial board of the Virginia Law Review. view profile

Published on June 01, 2021

Published by

100000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Coming of Age

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