A brother, sister, and grandpa try to make a safe journey away from a deadly insidious smallpox. Scenes of fighting and shooting within this tale, menA brother, sister, and grandpa try to make a safe journey away from a deadly insidious smallpox. Scenes of fighting and shooting within this tale, men on horses, set in a time of the horse and cart, bandits, gunfighters and kidnappers.
There be some dust to dust, bullet and lust, and devilry along the way, in delivery of vengeance and salvation. Bad guys have in the wings, on the road, in pursuit of them, a motley crew in search of some good old justice and material gain.
The Parkers are made of tuff stock and desperate times put one boy through the hardest times of his life, he traverses through a period of coming of age on this road. There be a first for many a thing for him, in this darn good cinematic True Grit by Charles Portis like tale.
Lonsdale writing with great dialogue, memorable characters, great similes, thee picturesque, and great scenes of action. He is a darn good storyteller, his writing flows with qualities that keep you hooked in the narrative till the end, a Texas noir master.
Troy was an athlete, an artist, and a soldier. He had kin, brothers and sisters, his death brings grief upon the family concerned in this story. One sTroy was an athlete, an artist, and a soldier. He had kin, brothers and sisters, his death brings grief upon the family concerned in this story. One sister in particular, the narrator of this tale in first person narrative, the wonderful Annie, her voice, her world view, the world according to her, her keen perspective on the world as we know it is the stuff that makes this such a great tale, by the end you feel you know Annie, you’ve learned of her through her coming of age and family trials, the authors characterisation and empathy crafted in this work was spot on and he depicts her with great skill in showing her to us in this wonderful story. The story was set in testing times the great depression and Pearl Harbour. Though shall forever remember her, her journey, her love, her losses, her gains, and her struggle to find tears in a testing time that awaits its weeping in this tale. From her naievty of youth to her wisdom of age you will love this walk that this capable author has immersed you in. There is a presence of death and loss like that of his bestseller Gap Creek for me this novel had me hooked more than Gap Creek.
Read the excerpts and you can get a taste of the voice of Annie and her sometimes humorous understandings.
“Now when we got to the house, Papa walked straight to Mama where she set by the bread safe. He put his hand on her shoulder, but she didn’t even look up at him. I’d seen her do that before. She couldn’t stand to be comforted or show affection in front of anybody. He’d touch her, try to put his arm around her, and she’d just pay him no heed. I thought she was too shy to show her feelings when another person was looking. Maybe she thought her and Papa was too old to act intimate. But when she just set there paying no attention to Papa reaching out to her at that awful moment, I seen it was something else. She’d give her life to working for other people and caring for other people. She’d put up with Papas whims and rages, and all it had led to was this. She’d lived on grits and molasses when they was young down on Gap Creek. She’d give everything to raise her children, and she had lost her favorite child. She didn’t want to show no emotion anymore.”
“I never did understand why men was attracted to me. For I was never much attracted to them. Or I guess I was and I wasn’t. It was a kind of surprise when I was about thirteen and just beginning to show breasts and to have hips you could notice that I seen men watching me. It was a little scary to catch men and big boys always looking at my legs. My legs was just beginning to get their shape then. I was a skinny little thing when I was a girl, and the dresses we wore in those days went down to your ankles almost. But I’d see men looking at my ankles and calves. Men always look at a woman’s legs first. I reckon they can’t help it.
When you’re a little girl it don’t occur to you how fascinating a woman’s butt is to a man. And even if it did, you wouldn’t be able to talk about it. But it was shivery to find a man studying your behind, especially when you walked, like they couldn’t take their eyes off it. And if you caught them looking, most turned away, like they was ashamed of enjoying the sight of your rear end. But some didn’t care at all. They’d look you right in the eye and grin. The bold men was the scariest. They’d stare at you like they could see everything under your dress, like you didn’t have no clothes on at all.
There is a way in which men just seem like animals, compared to women. Most of the time all men think about is their bellies. The saying is that the way to a man’s heart is through his belly, and I reckon that’s true, as far as it goes. Men will set down at the table and eat like hogs, they will. And when nobody ain’t looking they’ll go out in the garden and eat four ripe tomatoes or half a watermelon that has cooled overnight and still has dew on it.”
“Oh, about fifty miles,” Papa said, and laughed.
The road went through a holler between thickets of laurel bushes deeper and deeper and I heard the roar of water. The noise of a waterfall is like a warning. It makes you shudder.
The road come out of the laurels beside a pool, and above the pool a long gray beard of water fell off the lip of rock and tumbled down a slope rough as a washboard. The roar by itself made you think it was something terrible, like the end of the world.
Beyond the falls the road wound on around the hill and plunged down again so steep Papa had to pull on the wagon brake and you could hear the wheel scrubbing on the wood of the brake. My knees got sore from going down the steep hill.
Finally we come to a field and the road run along the edge of the field and dropped into the river. Papa stopped the horse right at the bank. He told Velmer to tie the cows rope to the back of the wagon. Then he pointed up the river to a foot log and told us to cross there.
Now I’d crossed little foot logs over Gap Creek that bounced and swayed but wasn’t too long. But this was a big foot log high up over the river. There was a handrail to hold on to, but I stepped up on the end of the log and stopped. The swirl of water far below made me dizzy. I watched Effie walk across the swaying log and my knees felt weak. Leaves floated by on the water below. Birch trees and maple trees leaned out over the river. I thought of getting down and crawling across the log. Papa had already drove the wagon across the ford and stopped on the other side.”
“I DON’T RECKON anybody could see the Depression coming on, unless it was the preachers. Preachers kept saying the world was coming to an end or coming to a terrible punishment for the sins that people had done. It was a terrible time of bootlegging and gangsters and wild parties in the cities, and girls that cut off nearly all their hair and acted like they’d gone crazy, wearing lipstick and rouge and smoking cigarettes in public. But preachers talk that way, don’t they? Preachers always sec doom and tribulation. That’s how they get people to come up to the altar and get saved and join their church and give their money to the collection. They get them scared and then they keep them scared.
But nobody I knew could tell what was going to happen when we heard the stock market way up north crashed and people jumped out of windows. I thought a stock market was a place where they sold horses and cattle. It sounded like a whole building that had burned and fell down. I was in my last year of high school and everybody seemed to be talking about the Wall Street Panic.”
“When we got outside and walked down the steps the sunlight was almost blinding. It was not a sunny day, but the light in the clouds was glaring. It seemed almost strange to me to come out of the church and see the trees and feel the wind. I was almost surprised to see the road and the fields, the parked cars and cattle in the pasture, and the gray and blue mountains, and everything going on about its business, like nothing had happened in the church, nothing had been said. There seemed little connection between the words inside the church and what went on outside. But the strangeness was not bad. In fact it was comforting, to see the peacefulness of the shrubbery and parking lot, going on in time as always. It was both good and scary to see that time didn’t stop for nothing. We might all be getting older, and a dear one was gone, but life and time went on, no matter about the talk of hell and heaven, sin and getting saved.”
This author has successfully created an inferno here on earth amidst people, characters you know and sPrepare yourself for a poetic inferno of a ride.
This author has successfully created an inferno here on earth amidst people, characters you know and see everyday, characters whom whilst not quite understanding the real deal trapped in a vicious circle of love, pain, submission and rebellion.
Betrayal, murder, revenge, ties that bond with serious consequences, parents failing their kids, parents that want control and order, others that had lost it, young girls, sisters in rebellion whom want to understand each other and find someone who attains control over them, this someone insidiously spins a web and has them seeing things very foggily.
In this seat of power lays Justinian, he seeks to have those around him find pleasure through pain and power through submission and wisdom through doing stupid things.
The author has you total immersed in these believable characters she has cast, tied in viscerally with great writing, sentencing, and the dying need to know how they all end up in their little bubble of finding themselves through the lies, betrayal and darkness.
A story that will have you thoroughly satisfied in what being caught up in a great tale was once like.
One for the must reads of 2013 list.
“Here, with Justinian and his people, was the only place she would ever feel safe again.”
”I’m not normal. I’m not like them. I’m like you. This is where I belong.”
Good citizen and bad citizen, Nuclear weaponary, War games, KGB, CIA, Russia and America, presidents, secrets and defections. These all feature somewheGood citizen and bad citizen, Nuclear weaponary, War games, KGB, CIA, Russia and America, presidents, secrets and defections. These all feature somewhere in this storys timeline. The author tells the tale of two young girls in America, rather wealthy ones, who find a war with Russia quite scary and decide to due the good deed of writing to the Russian president with a letter of concern. The main character who as already lost her sister to illness has forged a relationship with one particular schoolmate who catches the hearts of Russian officials in her letter and soon finds that she is also lost to a tragic accident. The writing never bored with all the Americans in Russia storytelling it held my interest to the end, the story edges around the spy field and defecting it does not go deep undercover but does a good job showing how some citizens defect in its storytelling. The tv series The American is doing well in the ratings, the Russian and American story seems to still pull in interest and so this tale may provide some decent entertainment in its reading, a story that has some historical significance....more
'Work close to heaven!' That was the advertisement that Mr Devin Jones one Summer reacted to, and this stand up guy at the age of twenty one was soon to become Howie the Happy Hound suited up in Hound attire doing the Hokey Pokey dance with kids at Joyland, a fun amusement park, a place where fun was lived out in its highs of rides and pitch darkness of the Horror House. There is unfortunately no tunnel of love, just in case anyone reading wants to hope on a flight out to Joyland. The nearest to a tunnel of love is the Horror House but as you embark on that ride, with zombies and skeletons leaping out of nowhere to surprise you in the dark, watch out for any lonesome dame stranded, lurking, wearing a blue skirt and blue sleeveless blouse and a matching blue Alice band, she is not part of the outfit, the fun, she is out of place in Joyland, her presence, the mystery behind her, the suspense that surrounds her is the hook in the tale, one of which our master storyteller Mr Stephen King has used to great success i have to say, one to have you hooked and transported to this summer and the lead characters days working at Joyland.
Published by Hard Case Crime, a publishing house that specialises in suspense, mystery and noir, its no surprise that King chose them to tell this throwback suspense and mystery story. He has used a great setting a theme park, just liked great stories such as Something wicked This way Comes by Ray Bradbury, a memorable and strong character is present with the young protagonist Mr Devin Jones with hero qualities and some flaws, and another even better character Mike a young boy who is severely ill and wheelchair bound, you will also read of some love for the main character one gone and a possibly another to be gained. This story has the reader ponder and read over the good days that have past, the love that was lost and found, the death that was faced and the life that managed to live on, a quaint feeling left upon the reader cast, on the good people lost and struck from this earth but the wonderful memories that lay and they left behind. Joyland somewhere, somehow, may be found across the world, across seas and across lands, in hearts and minds, through efforts and great human endeavor, in fun-houses, parks, and happy days, everyone has some fun-house days to remember, recollect and reflect on the silver-lining and on the others of whom have left behind a memory gone from this passing world but never be forgotten. A modest story can have great ramifications and reverberations, there is a power present in this great storytelling and of one I am in awe of Stephen Kings ability to do right, he connects and transports his reader. In this tale he weaves you slowly in, with the telling of the main character Devin Jones and his humble efforts on a summer job at Joyland, a place of fun, and slowly revels some darkness and then some light with the great character Mike and his dreams of being out of his wheelchair high up in the sky on a ride, like the kite he regularly reels from his seat, as dreams are forged, and he breathes the air you have the great feeling of freedom he must have felt and then the darkness comes again and then.......the rest lays in wait for you to read this Summer, run and buy it in truck loads and give out for free.
"I remember Mike's day at the park—Annie's day, too—as if it happened last week, but it would take a correspondent much more talented than I am to tell you how it felt, or to explain how it could have ended the last hold Wendy Keegan still held over my heart and my emotions. All I can say is what you already know: some days are treasure. Not many, but I think in almost every life there are a few. That was one of mine, and when I'm blue-when life comes down on me and everything looks tawdry and cheap, the way Joyland Avenue did on a rainy day—I go back to it, if only to remind myself that life isn't always a butcher's game. Sometimes the prizes are real. Sometimes they're precious."
"Who knows, this place might be your future."
"Maybe," I said, although I already knew what my future was going to be: writing novels and the kind of short stories they publish in The New Yorker. I had it all planned out. Of course, is also had marriage to Wendy Keegan all planned out, and how we'd wait until we were in our thirties to have a couple of kids. When you're twenty-one, life is a roadmap. It's only when you get to be twenty-five or so that you begin to suspect you've been looking at map upside down, and not until you're forty are you entirely sure. By the time you're sixty, take it from me, you're f*****g lost."
"There's one Hollywood Girl on each Helper team.....They run around in these short green dresses and green high heels and cutie-pie green hats that always make me think of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Only they re the Merry Chicks. They tote Speed Graphic cameras, like the kind you see in old movies, and they take pictures of the rubes." She paused. "Although I'd advise you against calling the customers that yourself."
"Already been warned by Mr. Dean," I said.
"Figures. Anyhow, the Hollywood Girls are told to concentrate on family groups and dating couples who look over twenty-one. Kids younger than that usually aren't interested in souvenir photos; they'd rather spend their money on food and arcade games. So the deal is, the girls snap first, then approach." She did a breathy little Marilyn Monroe voice.
" 'Hello, welcome to Joyland, I'm Karen! If you'd like a copy of the picture I just took, give me your name and check at the Hollywood Photo Booth on Hound Dog Way as you exit the park.' Like that."
"This is a badly broken world, full of wars and cruelty and senseless tragedy. Every human being who inhabits it is served his or her portion of unhappiness and wakeful nights. Those of you who don't already know that will come to know it. Given such sad but undeniable facts of the human condition, you have been given a priceless gift this summer: you are here to sell fun. In exchange for the hard-earned dollars of your customers, you will parcel out happiness. Children will go home and dream of what they saw here and what they did here. I hope you will remember that when the work is hard, as it sometimes will be, or when people are rude, as they often will be, or when you feel your best efforts have gone unappreciated. This is a different world, one that has its own customs and its own language, which we simply call the Talk. You'll begin learning it today. As you learn to talk the Talk, you'll learn to walk the walk. I'm not going to explain that, because it can't be explained; it can only be learned."
These stories present some high quality storytelling, with a great sense of place and people, the author manages to get you in a place, amidst strugglThese stories present some high quality storytelling, with a great sense of place and people, the author manages to get you in a place, amidst struggles and different lives. The writing flows well and there is possible strains of a Mark Twain like humour in the social, travel and moral writings here. Excellent collection of short stories for reading, interesting encounters within the world that spins in and around Che Guevara and others.
Some of the eight stories briefly reviewed.
Near-Extinct Birds of the Central Cordillera A hostage situation of a scholar a man with no money and no one to pay up for is in a dilemma of mistaken identity, they think he is a soy but his binoculars and map are for spying on nature in his love for birds. Nicely done short story, excellent story material used, the setting, dark humour, and great writing style makes this a great story to read occurring during a revolution in Colombia.
" "I'm not a spy," Blair answered in his wired, earnest way."I'm an ornithologist. I study birds." "However," Alberto continued, "if they wanted to send a spy, they wouldn't send somebody who looked like a spy. So the fact that you don't look like a spy makes me think you're a spy." Blair considered. "And what if I did look like a spy?" "Then I'd think you were a spy."
"During the day Blair was free to wander around the compound; for all their talk of his being a spy, the rebels didn't seem to mind him watching their drills, though at night they put him in a storage hut and handcuffed him to a bare plank bed. His beard grew in a dull sienna color, and thanks to the high-starch, amoeba-enriched diet he began to drop weight from his already aerodynamic frame, a process helped along by the chronic giardia that felt like screws chewing through his gut. But these afflictions were mild compared to the awesome loneliness, and in the way of prisoners since the beginning of time he spent countless hours savoring the lost, now clarified sweetness of ordinary days. The people in his life seemed so precious to him— i love you all! he wanted to tell them, his parents and siblings, the biology department secretaries, his affable though self-absorbed and deeply flawed professors. He missed books, and long weekend runs with his buddies; he missed women so badly that he wanted to gnaw his arm. To keep his mind from rotting in this gulag-style sump he asked for one of his blank notebooks back. Alberto agreed, more to see what the gringo would do than out of humane impulse; within days Blair had extensive notes on counter-singing among ,Scaled Fruiteaters and agnostic displays in Wood-Rails, along with a detailed gloss on Haffer's theory of speciation."
"Blair was twelve when it first happened, on a trip to the zoo—he came on the aviary 's teeming mosh pit of cockatoos and macaws and Purple-naped Lories, and it was as if an electric arc had shot through him. And he'd felt it every time since, this jolt, the precision stab in the heart whenever he saw psittacidae —he kept expecting it to stop but it never did, the impossibly vivid colors like some primal force that stoked the warm liquid center of his soul."
Reve Haitien Days after Haitian coup a two chess players meet an deal is forged to use art in a bid to aid a revolution. Another great tale with a sense of place, people and grande struggles.
"He led Mason around the palace and into the hard neighbourhood known as Salomon, a dense, scumbled antheap of cinder block houses and packing-crate sheds, wobbly storefronts, markets, mewling beggars underfoot. Through the woodsmoke and dust and swirl of car exhaust the late sun took on an ocherous radiance, the red light washing over the grunged and pitted streets. Dunes of garbage filled out the open spaces, eruptions so rich in colourful filth that they achieved a kind of abstraction. With Mason half-trotting to keep up the mulatto cut along side streets and tight alleyways where Haitians tumbled at them from every side. A simmering roar came off the close packed houses, a vibration like a drumroll in his ears that blended with the slur of cars and bleating horns, the scraps of Latin music shredding the air. There was something powerful here, even exalted; Mason felt it whenever he was on the streets, a kind of spasm, a queasy, slightly strung-out thrill feeding off the sheer muscle of the place."
"On these nights the gunfire seemed diminished, a faint popping in their ears like a pressure change, though if the rounds were nearby the mulatto's eye would start twitching like a cornered mouse. He is a man, Mason thought, who's living on air and inspiration, holding himself together by the force of will. He was passionate about the art, equally passionate in his loathing for the people who'd ruined Haiti. You don't belong her, Mason wanted to tell him. You deserve a better place. But that was true of almost every Haitain he'd met."
The Good Ones Are Already Taken This tale deals with a solider returning back home from a war in Haiti to his wife with a strange case of a voodoo marriage.
Asian tiger A Texas man out in Burma working at a golf resort gets involved in high league dealer brokering while escorting and coaching his budding golfers of powerful positions in the world of business.
"Shwedagon: he'd never seen or even imagined anything like it, a sprawling, technicolor theme park of the soul, ten acres of temples and statues and gem-encrusted shrines surrounding the bell-shaped spire of the towering central zedL Sonny eyed the zedi's dazzling golden mass, its bowl base and tapering vertical flow, and after a while realized that he was looking at the world's largest, albeit upside-down, golf tee. An omen?Meanwhile his guide was intoning the Buddha's main tenets, telling Sonny that life is dukkha, all pain and illusion; that the cycle of thanthaya, death and rebirth, will continue as long as desire remains; and that through bhavana, meditation, one might achieve the proper karma for enlightenment and nirvana. Yes, Sonny thought, yes yes all true-he felt something swelling in him, a weepy and exhausted soulfulness, a surrender that felt like wisdoms first glimmerings, and coming down off the plinth he acknowledged the moment by passing money to every monk he saw."
"Oh. Oh" It wasn't so much a bribe as a, ah, gesture, a little goodwill grease for the wheels. It wasn't long before Sonny realized that a giant corporate ratfuck was happening out on the course. If you wanted to do business in Burma you had to cozy up to the generals, and the best place for that was the National's elegant links. Which put Sonny in a classic trickle-down position: over the next few days he received a case of Bordeaux from Singaporean financiers a carved elephant from Thai teakwood barons, a kangaroo-skin golf bag from Malaysian gem traders. ' So popular," said Tommy Ng in a voice like dry ice. "Two weeks in Mvanmar and look at all the wonderful friends you have." But Sonny was troubled —these people thought he could pimp for them? He was just the pro, a performing human whose job was to stun them with his mighty swing and tell colorful stories on the verandah after the round. They were all, generals included, relentless jock sniffers eager for inside information about their favourite pros. Did you ever play with Palmer? they'd ask him over drinks. Was Nicklaus really the best? Tell us about Tiger, is he as good as they say! If Sonny didn't have an actual personal anecdote he'd make one up, something dramatic or funny to make everybody feel good."
Brief Encounters with Che Guevara Starts with a southern man has an attraction for a woman connected with thee Che, he later finds himself in Bolivia as a removal guy where he meets and has discussion with a man who says he was the killer of Che. In his thirties he finds himself in Haiti and he's now married with children. And your taken in the narrative on to his forties when Fidel is in power and the grave of Che has been located. Interesting encounters within the world that spins in and around Che.
"School tradition required my parents to host receptions for the faculty several times a year, and it was at these gatherings —peeking with my sisters from the top of the stairs at first, then later as a fringe participant, serving punch with the help in my coat and tie —that I became aware of my attraction to Mona Broun. Mrs. Broun was a faculty wife, a trim, petite woman in her early thirties whom I confused for a time with the actress Natalie Wood. She had the same wholesome looks as the famous movie star, the same well-scrubbed, faintly exotic sex appeal, along with fawn-colored hair worn loose and soft, this at a time- the mid-sixties—when the women's hairdos, in the South at least, resembled heavily shellacked constructions of meringue. But it was her eyes that got our attention from the top of the stairs,intense brown eyes with rich, lustrous tones like shots of bourbon or maple syrup, framed by sharp, exaggeratedly arched eyebrows like the spines of enraged or terrified cats."...more
The information contained within, the evidences and theories, may help us have a safer and more humane society in the future or it may not, but you wiThe information contained within, the evidences and theories, may help us have a safer and more humane society in the future or it may not, but you will read some shocking facts found in piecing together the anatomy of violence. Have you ever wondered at the evil that men do and the theories why? Behind the fictional characters like Donald Draper of Mad Men, Norman Bates of Psycho, and Rambo of First Blood there is an unseen tapestry, of thinking and behaviour. Behind the shocking truths that hit our news reports of school shootings, mass murders, terrorism, news on violence and abuse there are darker truths that lurk in the anatomy of the offender and this book dissects and examines the flags of danger. The author tells you of the evidences found in researching the anatomy of violence. This work explains the shades of the brain, the behaviours displayed, the social and the home aspects that contribute to an evolution into violence, he does not blame and pass down the roots of violence to Cain and Abel in their act of killing of kin and then on being a born condition with no other possible ailments, but explains the roots of violence with more insidious and complex workings at work. With the simple imaging of the brain the hallmarks of a persons potential for violence could be documented. This reading may have you looking at people you recognise in society and in your home and thinking of ways they could be helped, this reading is a much needed essential work on a human stain that will never magically be wanded away but needs efforts by all the faces of humanity in its toil and struggle to be cured. Written with vast and great knowledge on the subject in an easy read terminology that everyone could understand, one that can could be used many times over for referencing particular conditions of behaviour. Evidences and theories pieced together giving plenty of food for thought on the anatomy of violence.
Excepts "The bright sunlight of my sisters radiant life was overshadowed by a particularly acute form of leukaemia. On September 18, Roma's life was snuffed out-perhaps mercifully-in just two weeks, although that's painfully long compared with the victims of most acts of violence. We all miss her, just as Clare does to this day. I have reflected a great deal on Roma, and her death has profoundly affected my thinking. The other cancer that bloodies the lives of so many other people-violence-is to me as much medical as the sickness that killed my sister. For me, Roma's death is a metaphor for how I think we need to treat violence. It requires more compassion, less retribution, and a new clinical perspective that I want to move you toward considering."
"Do violent offenders have abnormal functioning in terms of how they think, feel, and behave? Yes, they certainly do. Does this "dysfunction" have a biological basis? Is something not going right in their development? I have argued that crime germinates early in life from a neurodevelopment and genetic base. I've suggested that there is a heck of a lot that is just not working right in violent offenders. They are also impaired in how they perform in life-whether at school, at home, or at work. Violence certainly causes distress to others, and the offender himself is frequently in a distressed state. Repeated violent offending is a clinical disorder." ...more
The setting Tijuana, in this story its a place were people minded their own business if they valued their life.
There is one character Malone a driverThe setting Tijuana, in this story its a place were people minded their own business if they valued their life.
There is one character Malone a driver of sorts that would get you across the border in the boot of his motor vehicle for a good price and he is about to handle goods that needs more than anyone else to be reunited with her estranged young daughter, she is on the run from some trouble aka Angel baby. Malone turns out to be a likeable character even though he is a bit of a shady one, you sometimes may spot him in knee-length Bermuda shorts, a tourist t-shirt from Cabo San Lucas, and flip-flops, a typical Gabacho all in the cause of blending in.
Jeronimo, a bad ass mexican is on his tail and needs to get her back. He has a shaved head, mahogany skin, tattoos covering both arms and boiling up out of the neck of his T-shirt.
So the scene is set and the events unfold in great pace the whole story has you hooked in anticipation and resolve, cleverly developed characters, spot on dialogue and action, this author has done a top notch job in telling this story a pulsating thriller that brings me back to tales like Savages by Don Winslow, Savage Season by Joe Lansdale, Point and Shoot by Duane, Donnybrook by Frank Bill and Carrion Birds by Urban Waite.
"A powerful man has enemies, a successful man breaks hearts, and the loser will always try to destroy the winners and drag them back down into the mud."
"She knew all his fears, all his weaknesses, and how to use them against him. And that's why we married her, he sees it now, the real reason: to keep his greatest enemy close."
A stranger in a strange town in a hot climate, amongst this takes place the arousing of senses with rich armours and colours, with poverty and corruptA stranger in a strange town in a hot climate, amongst this takes place the arousing of senses with rich armours and colours, with poverty and corruption to hinder the soul, children in vast array littering the streets with nothing to do and nobody to care, he is in search for a certain person a man and in this first person narrative the author pulls you in to these new surroundings, sights, and smells, you read on in this search with a kind of curiosity in who is this person he seeks. One minute it felt like a quite simple road and then the next it doesn't and more mystery unravels. Economical in words like of would say of Hemingway's writing of his encounters in Spain, with a rather clever working on identity tied into this journeying. The hotels he stays for only one night, the people he encounters, the scenery, the bugs and rodents all add to intrigue of this novella, a story that may have you musing over it for a time....more
Humans, the divine comedy they represent, with all their delusions, with all their fictions, with all their religious beliefs, with all their sex, drugs and rock and roll, with all their technological advancement, with all their moral decline, with all their race and class differences, with all their love for money and fame, with all their lies and truths, with all their war and peace, with all their sense and sensibility, with all their sound and fury, with all their to have and have not, with all their disease and death, And so they continue on beating against the cycle of time, knowing all this, against their allotted time of sparse existence, they are a strange species, they still carry on and keep calm despite this, who in their right mind would want to be human?
I read the Humans by author Matt Haig and his telling of one non-human beating against the tide of humanity in all its pot holes and weakness, I must warn fellow Vonnadorians who are reading this that this book is very dangerous and polluting to our species, the poetry recommended by the character in this story likewise, it may be infectious on the mind and the intellect of our species. I was quite magically taken under the writers wing and seeing this human world experience in first person and it all read to be quite credible. I must admit he fooled me with his narrative, he captivated me i was very keen on this humanity, taken in by this unique character of whom he has you have an empathic feeling for, but believe you me this is a farce. Indeed even with all the weirdness and beauty of humanity portrayed in this story, we do not need anything from humans, we have much more, we have immortality, what you have before you is a lasting and very brave accounting of the ins and outs, warnings of what it is like to be human, so that we may never want or try to be a human.
My warning to Vonnadorians is..... (Excerpt from The Humans by Matt Haig) "Remember, during your mission, never to become influenced or corrupted. The humans are an arrogant species, defined by violence and greed. They have taken their home planet, the only one they currently have access to, and placed it on the road to destruction. They have created a world of divisions and categories and have continually failed to see the similarities between themselves. They have developed technology at a rate too fast for human psychology to keep up with, and yet they still pursue advancement for advancement's sake, and for the pursuit of the money and fame they all crave so much. You must never fall into the humans trap. You must never look at an individual and fail to see their relation to the crimes of the whole, livery smiling human face hides the terrors they are all capable of and are all responsible for, however indirectly. You must never soften, or shrink from your task. Stay pure. Retain your logic. Do not let anyone interfere with the mathematical certainty of what needs to be done."
May this book remain in our libraries as a stark warning on the frailty and art of being human.
Excerpt "I was to be a married man. I was forty-three years old, the exact mid-point in a human life. I had a son. I was the professor who had just solved the most significant mathematic puzzle the humans had ever faced. I had, only three short hours ago, advanced the human race beyond anyone's imagining."
The opening sentence and paragraph has you have an image strike up in your head, an archaic one full of mystery, a maid thee maid of this tale. This taThe opening sentence and paragraph has you have an image strike up in your head, an archaic one full of mystery, a maid thee maid of this tale. This tale brings you back in time as this wise and mystical lady, a grandma, tells of a tragedy, a fire. She is a character that stays and reverberates in the tale. That long lavish hair has a mystery behind it, as that of a long swirl of smoke rising to the skies from the dance-hall fire, a melancholy presence beheld in that hair. She pieces together and tells to the younger ones of the days preceding and the day itself of the fire and the one guilty of the heinous crime. Daniel Woodrell hooks you in with the first paragraph and then on grips you masterly along the right pace no words wasted, he unravels and tells through this grandma Alma of the mystery of a once deadly dance-hall fire that had taken loved ones in this Ozraks town. As the incident is unravelled the author has you immersed in the mystery behind the arsonist and the men and women of this Ozark vicinity.
This great tale takes me back to the great short by Faulkner ‘Barn Burning,’ along with Fahrenheit 451, these are three stories involving fire and burning that will survive the test of time and remain great works to be revisited and read again and again.
Daniel Woodrell is a formidable force in crafting vivid and memorable characters, steeped in history, Language, and setting. He is the storyteller of the Ozaks just as the eminent William Faulkner was of the Yoknapatawpha County.
He has a distinctive prose and mastery with writing with language and certain denizens of a town or village like that of Faulkner and in Joyce’s dubliners he is for sure a people’s voice and storyteller.
Americas best kept secret unless you’ve seen the movie Winters Bone then you would have learned of the ways of this rural Shakespearian tragedy conjurer, a rural noir writer at it finest.
That opening paragraph.
“She frightened me at every dawn the summer I stayed with her. She’d sit on the edge of her bed, long hair down, down to the floor and shaking as she brushed and brushed, shadows ebbing from the room and early light flowing in through both windows. Her hair was as long as her story and she couldn’t walk when her hair was not woven into dense braids and pinned around and atop her head. Otherwise her hair dragged the floor like the train of a medieval gown and she had to gather it into a sheaf and coil it about her forearm several times to walk the floor without stepping on herself. She’d been born a farm girl, then served as a maid for half a century, so she couldn’t sleep past dawn to win a bet, and all the mornings I knew with her she’d sit in the first light and brush that witchy-long hair, brush it in sections, over and over, stroking hair that had scarcely been touched by scissors for decades, hair she would not part with despite the extravagance of time it required at each dawn. The hair was mostly white smeared by gray, the hues of a newspaper that lay in the rain until headlines blended across the page.”
“Her name was Alma and she did not care to be called Grandma or Mamaw, and might loose a slap if addressed as Granny. She was lonely, old and proud, and I’d been sent from my river town near St. Louis by my dad as a gesture of reconciliation. She was glad I’d been sent and concerned that I have a good time, a memorable summer, but she was not naturally given to much frolic; the last hours of play she’d known had been before World War I, some game now vanished from childhood that involved a rolling wooden hoop and a short stick. She tried taking me for long walks about the town of West Table, going to Peoples Park so she could watch me splash in the pool, let me pull weeds in the garden and throw a baseball against the toolshed door. It was the summer of 1965, but she still did not have a television, only a radio that seemed always to be announcing livestock prices and yield estimates. There was a twang stretching every word Alma said, but for days and days she didn’t say much. Then came a late afternoon when I was dramatically dispirited, moody and bored, foot idly kicking at things I’d been told not to kick, a sweltering day that turned dark as a sinister storm settled overhead, and we sat together on her small porch in a strong wind to watch those vivid actions break across the sky. Storm clouds were scored by bright lightning, and thunder boomed. Her dress was flapping, her eyes narrowed and distant, and she cunningly chose that raging moment to begin telling me her personal account of the Arbor Dance Hall explosion of 1929, how forty-two dancers from this small corner of the Missouri Ozarks had perished in an instant, waltzing couples murdered midstep, blown toward the clouds in a pink mist chased by towering flames, and why it happened. This was more like it—an excitement of fire, so many fallen, so many suspects, so few facts, a great crime or colossal accident, an ongoing mystery she thought she’d solved. I knew this was a story my dad did not want me to hear from her lips, as it was a main source of their feud, so I was tickled and keen to hear more, more, and then more. Dozens were left maimed, broken in their parts, scorched until skin melted from bones. The screams from the rubble and flames never faded from the ears of those who heard them, the cries of burning neighbors, friends, lovers, and kinfolk like my great-aunt Ruby. So many young dead or ruined from a town of only four thousand raised a shocked, grievous howling for justice. Suspicions were given voice, threats shouted, mobs gathered, but there was no obvious target for all the summoned fury. Suspects and possible explanations for the blast were so numerous and diverse, unlinked by convincing evidence, that the public investigation spun feebly in a wide, sputtering circle, then was quietly closed. No one was ever officially charged nor punished, and the twenty-eight unidentified dead were buried together beneath a monumental angel that stood ten feet tall and slowly turned black during year after year of cold and hot and slapping rain.”
“A near portion of the sky founted an orange brilliance in a risen tower, heat bellowing as flames freshened in the breeze and grew, the tow r of orange tilting, tossing about, and the sounds dancers let loose began to reach distant ears as anonymous wails and torture those nearby with their clarity of expression. There were those who claimed to have heard words of farewell offered by victims in the air or in the rubble, and some must be true accounts; so many citizens crawled into the flames to pull at blistered, smoking bodies that turned out to be people they knew, sisters, uncles, sons or pals. As with any catastrophe, the witness accounts immediately began to differ, as some saw dancers from blown three hundred feet toward the stars and spreading in a spatter of directions, while others saw them go no more than a hundred and fifty feet high, give or take, though all agreed that several fortunate souls were saved from death by the force of their throwing, landing beyond reach of the scorching, pelted with falling debris, yes, and damaged, but not roasted skinless, hairless, blackened and twisted on their bones.” http://more2read.com/review/maids-version-daniel-woodrell/...more
“ I bit into one of the apples and a gush of saliva and juice filled my mouth. The apple was still green, but so good. Just the way I remembered. Som
“ I bit into one of the apples and a gush of saliva and juice filled my mouth. The apple was still green, but so good. Just the way I remembered. Sometimes I felt there were only memories in my life now, the clear and solid drifting substance into a mysterious fog that rolled and shifted and entwined the past, the living and the dead, into a swirling labyrinth in which everything seemed equally distant and ethereal. My parents and siblings were gone, my Nora to cancer, my daughters married to husbands and careers, my students off to the real world, my college in search of a greater trust fund, and me to my dotage as Professor Emeritus of Comparative English Literature, which somehow rang more hollow with each passing day. I looked around at the ragged countryside. What did I want from these over-farmed hills after sixty years? I had no idea, but only days before her death, Nora had made the request that I return. I felt honor-bound to make the journey.”
This excerpt gives us a keyhole into the narrators story, it sums up the journey he will take you on in his first person narrative, from his coming of age to his present, he relives and takes you back in various periods of his life. A life that once was, on a Kentucky farm, a man, a Jew by birth, growing up with a great circle of friends, a friendship bond that would never be forgotten, and all that comes with the fun and mystery of youth, including redemption that needs to be taken account for before his final breath. The past and present weaved together and essential in understanding this main character, the author has done a great job in writing with a place and people, and the daily running’s of this young man in Kentucky felt real, the emotions and experiences have you feel you are there with him told with the dialect of the region in the past, he adds a true potent and original voice in this mystery and drama, a coming of age tale where a possible devil lurks in The Little Bend Bottoms. The writing connects with the reader and he displays great ability to show the scene before him in the past and present with a voice that will have you hypnotically transported. There is death and mystery in this tale, a haunting presence that appeared in his past in the Little Bend bottoms lurks, something that adds that extra storytelling quality and has you engaged and captivated in this tale. As he revisits his growing place, the farm he once lived on, sixty years later he feels regret on the friends he left behind and lost, he wants forgiveness and to reconcile some deep things that disturbs his heart and soul, he searches the land for familiar faces, but as news of many passed and no longer left he finds who he can connected to his best friend Fred.
He narrates in the first person those bygone days and the mystery that once lay in the Bottoms the nostalgia, humanity against diversity form a story that would stay with you for some time and characters that would remain dearer to you than you could want. A great read this story was, one not to be missed in the summer of 2013 and I hope is seen and heard of amongst all the great stories out this year, one to be on my best of 2013 list in the Summer.
“Nora, I have read dozens of books on Judaism, and other religions…Buddhism, Islam, Christianity. All have wonderful things in them, all are important as bulwarks of civilisation, but the vast majority require belief in a supreme being. That’s fundamental. I have my own concepts of God and they don’t fit with organised religion. I’m a Jew by birth and very proud of my roots, but it will be a cold day in hell when some rabbi directs my life.”
“After patting the line post, I put my arms on top of the gate and looked across the field. It had been pastureland when we lived on Berman’s, but now it was covered with twenty acres of alfalfa. The little creek still ran through it, creasing the field. In the distance I could see the hickory and locust grove. I had walked this way to the Mulligans’ so many times. In my mind I could still see Fred, sitting on top of the old gate in is Levi’s, multiple shirts, and no-heel shoes. Fred had been the portal to a great adventure-part beauty, part terror, all wonder. It was getting toward noon. The heat and humidity were making my clothes sticky, and the sound of insects filled the air with a hum. I scanned the vista. Open meadows, dark groves of trees, and green hills covered with patches of wildflowers. Below the hills were valleys with slightly different carpets, but just as remarkable in their glory. I could almost hear the hills speak to my soul. Embrace us, embrace us, our prodigal son. You’ve been long away, but we still love you. Come, mingle, lie among us and become the soil of life. I inhaled deeply and the air filled my body to my socks. Had I returned to Canaan?”
“It got quiet for a while, then LD said, “What good’s hit gonna do t’ tell if hit’s a crazy man or devil? Aint’t nobody goin’ t’ do nothin’ about it. Everybody’s scared t’ go around th’ Blue Hole. If hit’s a crazy man, he don’t hurt nobody but what goes around th’ Blue Hole. Ain’t ever hurt anybody we for sure know. Killed one or two....... If he is a crazy man, somebody will see him one of these times and shoot him. If hit’s th’ Devil, then you know dang well nothin’ we say’s gonna make a difference.” LD look around at Lonnie and Fred, then said, “Ain’t no reason t’ tell.” “We don’t tell and hit is a crazy man, he might hurt somebody,” said Fred. “Don’t nobody know that,” said LD, shaking his head. “Folks been tellin’ about him for years and ain’t nobody but old man Hackett seen him. Nobody believed what old Hackett said. He was out of his head half th’ time. Everybody knows that.”
And finally… three excerpts that hold some great meaning….
“Being human is difficult,” I said aloud. “Common decency is the greatest quality to which one can aspire and the hardest to practise.” I had never expressed that thought before. Maybe I was learning something!”
“Nora. What of Nora, the woman who loved me so much that she put up with my bull****. What the hell did she se in me? She was ten times the person I was, and yet she saw me as “her Rhett Butler.” Her hero? Some hero. She believed in me! She understood somehow the effect my past had on my life. She said one time that the hill people I described to her had instilled in me a sense of Old Testament honor and its attendant rigidity. Combined with the scholarly bent of my ethnic group, these values had somehow merged to produce a beating who fiercely demanded total intellectual freedom, yet sought absolute truth! I didn’t believe any of that mumbo-jumbo but maybe it was true. If so, it was an unfortunate coupling that had haunted my life.”
“I felt like a man straddling time, part of me in the 1940’s, the other part in the twenty-first century. Something was missing between the halves, something that couldn’t be filled by accolades, money, or even Nora. I needed those things of my distant past- the human beings with home whom I had shared this imperfect place. Canaan land, complete with heroes and Philistine metaphors. Without them, I wasn’t whole.”