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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Halfway Man by TW Roolf is a work of literary fiction that follows a man by the name of Tony “Toner” Brouwer, who is scraping by in a world uncomfortably below the poverty line. He has something of a routine that always involves supper in a church that provides hot meals and includes delicacies such as meatloaf, and sausage on sausage night. Then he spends the night on his cot where he scans the obituaries for funerals to crash and triangle sandwiches to be taken. In between, he is surrounded by a melange of cohorts. Then there is the enigma, Alice, whom Tony coined with the nickname Ms. Congeniality. He fantasizes about her but only when he's not busy scouting for jobs to make life a bit easier.
If ever there was a character-driven plot, Halfway Man is it. TW Roolf writes a fully immersive novel that is somehow able to balance the monotony of just scraping by with wit and intelligence, mostly coming from the mind and mouth of Tony himself, but also from ancillary characters. The dialogue is pitch-perfect and no two conversationalists sound alike. Tony has his highs and these are displayed through action, like a “hustled step” after a significant personal victory, and he also has his lows, like the unfortunate news that soon follows. Halfway Man is a slow burn but it is a very good one. I have no doubt that lovers of true literary fiction laced with the acerbic narrative of an underdog will find plenty of enjoyment in Roolf's work.