I finished Paper Souls a few weeks ago. It’s taken me this long to figure out exactly how to review it. Upon gobbling up the last pages, I felt everyI finished Paper Souls a few weeks ago. It’s taken me this long to figure out exactly how to review it. Upon gobbling up the last pages, I felt every single emotion all at once. I wanted to write the review right then and there. But…what do I have to say? Everything and nothing. How do you describe something extraordinary with mere ordinary words?
Some authors tell us a story, others show us. Burke injects it into our veins. We don’t meet Emily Colt, we become her; or, rather, she becomes us. And, again, she doesn’t tell us or show us what it is like to have schizophrenia, she gives it to us. From this intimate transferal, she teaches us the most beautiful of lessons…that we aren’t any different than Emily. And from this realization, that we, all of us, some part of us, is Emily, we fall in love with her, and ourselves, and all the beautifully tragic perplexities that make up each of our tortured psyches. Delicately weaved into the pages is a new appreciation and understanding of humankind, of human nature.
The prose is rigid and raw, sexy and disturbing; a deep crimson river of love and heartache coursing through us. The story line is harsh and soft, simple and complex; a perpetual contradiction. And it works so perfectly, magically. Each word, a gift.
Some books are like fast food. This book isn’t meant to be devoured, although it is so deliciously tempting from the outset. The filet mignon of literature, you’ll want to savor each word, each page, each experience. Let the buttery goodness linger, and slip down into your soul. Fulfilling you in a way you never knew words could.
This book isn’t for the faint of heart. It isn’t for the unexperienced reader, the innocent human. This book requires a soul to nurture it and appreciate it for what it is – pure unbridled brilliance.
If you think you are ready to experience something you’ve not yet encountered, if you’re ready to let your mind go, pick up a copy. But know, this impeccable writer and this exquisite tale will leave you changed…forever. ...more
The Poor Man’s Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide is the debut collection of stories by Schuler Benson. The stories center on the inhabitants ofThe Poor Man’s Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide is the debut collection of stories by Schuler Benson. The stories center on the inhabitants of rural America and for the most part are quite dark and gritty.
The characters and their stories are distinctively simplistic and yet they pack quite a punch, but not in the way you might expect. Often with short stories there is this shock and awe when you reach the end. Here, something different happens. There is a palpable sadness intricately weaved throughout the book with a sprinkle of humor here and there. The heavy impact of the stories sneaks up on you and slaps you right in the face when you reach the end of the collection. It hits you, how very much you loved everyone you met. And more than that, how very much you can relate to these ordinary, everyday people. And you find yourself wanting to start reading it all over again.
It is evident that Benson’s muse threw a noose around his heart; the stories bled onto the page. And it feels as though he has left more than just a piece of himself in each of these stories; he’s left a piece of all of us....more
Message from a Blue Jay is the debut of Author Faye Rapoport DesPres and is a non-fiction collection of personal essays. Some writers are storytellersMessage from a Blue Jay is the debut of Author Faye Rapoport DesPres and is a non-fiction collection of personal essays. Some writers are storytellers and gather their readers around a fire and share their tales. Rapoport DesPres is different. She holds the reader’s hand tenderly and invites them into her heart and takes them with her on her journey.
Just a few lines in, a feeling of peaceful familiarity washes over you. The words that fill the page are warm and comforting and envelope you like the embrace of a long-lost friend. The author shares with you some of her deepest and most intimate of fears and thoughts and experiences, whispers them into your ear. And even though you may not have traversed the same winding road as she, you can relate to the struggle of attempting to clear the hurdles along the way.
Like a warm sip of tea on a bitter cold day, the essays which make up Message from a Blue Jay are ones you’ll want to savor. Because weaved into each heartfelt experience is a beautiful lesson. A lesson you’ll want to lean back and mull over. Sometimes for an entire day.
Rapoport DesPres is a true artist. Her writing is exquisite and it is obvious she was exceedingly careful in selecting each and every word before painting them onto the page. And the whole experience the reader is afforded, and that is exactly what it is, an experience, is one that lingers long after the last page is turned. Her words will forever have a place in my heart....more
In Above All Men, Shonkwiler thrusts us into the future, but not the kind of future you might expect, yet one that is painfully possible. The economyIn Above All Men, Shonkwiler thrusts us into the future, but not the kind of future you might expect, yet one that is painfully possible. The economy has collapsed. The landscape isn’t lush and healthy. Life isn’t filled with ridiculous gadgetry, as one might expect to encounter in a far off version of our now. Instead, the unfortunate inhabitants of our tomorrow are forced to live a worse-off version of life than their long-ago ancestors once did. And the desperation which plagues this future is deliciously palpable and drips off the page, dances its way right into our hands and our hearts. And for as hard as times might be for our main character, David Parrish, the words which are used to tell this story are anything but. Page after page, you’ll quickly find yourself immersed into one of the most beautifully and artfully crafted tales about courage and strength and the power of resilience. It takes an author of real talent to tell a tale that is filled with a lot of ugly and make it anything but. And that’s what Shonkwiler is – an author of immense talent....more