My admiration for the literary work of this author is no secret. A quote of praise from me graces the front cover of VICTIM OF SHAME, and for good reason. There are few authors who have his ability to tap universal emotions, and present them in a style that feels absolutely authentic. When reading VICTIM OF SHAME, it is as if reading a secret diary, hearing a deathbed confession, or looking into the soul of someone as flawed, tragic and gloriously human as ourselves. To reveal detail of plot and characters would rob you of the great pleasure of experiencing this book fresh, and without preconceptions. Simply put, the main character, Ryan, is a champion of women's rights who, in his heart of hearts, despises women. Every victory for the cause of gender equality is a defeat of his own rancor. He is a man in the midst of the most important struggle of all — the battle between self and soul.
I will, however, share some comments regarding the style of Mian's writing. It is perhaps because he is not only an author, but a teacher of English and English composition, that he knows how to write as if not a professional writer. The story , told first person in almost a "journal" style, contains just enough run on sentences and grammatical gaffes to convince us that we are indeed reading someone's unpolished memoirs. There is a power within this approach. much as the nicks and cuts found in real leather are proof of its authenticity. The narrator may provide too many examples, but people, desperate to make sure you understand, do exactly that. This is literary accuracy, as an actor nails a character perfectly, Mian knows how to write as if writing were the farthest thing from his mind — only sharing the story from his heart. Yet, the story is fiction. This is all design, artifice, and by making this artifice remarkably realistic, Mian demonstrates his abilities to involve us in the lives of characters we perceive as real.
There is something called "The Illusion of Exceptionalness" — that is when people assume that what they are experiencing in their lives — pain, anguish, despair — are exceptions. They mistakenly assume that others cannot know their experience. Somehow, what they are enduring is an exception. It isn't.
If there is a message to Mian's book it may or may not be the one he hammers relentlessly in his epilogue — that too is device. Few books engage the reader in the manner of VICTIM OF SHAME, and even fewer can stimulate so much discussion. I urge you to buy this book, read this book, enjoy this book, and share it with others. It is a book capable of triggering communication and understanding, not only between people, but between ourselves and our own self-image.