Grady's Reviews > The Divine Farce

The Divine Farce by Michael S.A. Graziano
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's review
Oct 26, 2009

it was amazing

'...suffer a sea change into something rich and strange.'

Reading Michael S.A. Graziano's THE DIVINE FARCE invites, or rather plunges the reader into one of the most intriguing stories or worlds imaginable. In the words of Shakespeare's Hamlet we might think back after reading this tale and recall 'O day and night, but this is wondrous strange.' As in his previous novel THE LOVE SONG OF MONKEY - the transformation of a dying AIDS patient placed for possible cure in a dysfunctional molecular rearrangement machine only to be tossed into the depths of the ocean where he lives with the flora and fauna of the sea - Graziano has placed three naked characters in a claustrophobic tube for an indefinite period of time, a living space where the two men and the woman dwell bonded together by lack of space, feeding from pear nectar dripping from above and standing in their own excrement until the narrator picks a hole in the tube - an act that eventually allows them free fall into an even stranger albeit more spacious dark and filthy cave. At first feeling freed, our narrator soon realizes that in this new world of equally naked, silent, wretched creatures that his only connect was the bond among the three trapped original specimens. 'Theatrics don't work if nobody cares. Writhing is never a useful balm to the soul'. And on exploring the meaningless dark cavern of needy bodies ('a motet of uncountable voices') he states 'So I was inducted from a microcosm to macrocosm.'

Wandering through his new space, now separated from his two former friends, he searches for ways to survive, finding feeding troughs and a water source that provided the most meager nutrition, but from where? Among the throngs of silent equally trapped victims 'we had lost all our capacity for imagination. For vision.', somehow our narrator maintains enough of his need for identity, for knowing, that he spies light in the dome of the cave, and after living in the mire of the cavern he devises a way to escape, only to find that once outside the cave, he is in yet another ambiguous space and his primary need to reclaim his old 'friends' in the space below consumes him.

Graziano has the gift to create atmospheres so detailed and dark and vile that the reader almost feels that holding this little book of a story will be terminal contamination. His description of the basic needs of humans - food, drink, sex, proximity with others and most importantly friendship - shakes us with both repulsion and passionate need. This is not a novel about fantasy computer generated worlds where all elements are oversized machines turned human (and vice versa). This story wades into the mud of our worst very real nightmares and, like waking up, still in the dark, shakes our belief systems and compassion that accompanies being alone, very alone, in the incomprehensible dark. Graziano's gift is that he ignites a tiny yet potentially powerful light that suggests the miracle of being a human - and makes us figure out just what is threatening and what is relevant and necessary. This is one of the best books of the year. Grady Harp


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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Grady Glad you liked it too!

Sandie Zand Fabulous review for an amazing book.

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