A Cruel Man Delighting in Flowers

...the mildness to which men ... had yielded was only half of the intoxication of beauty, while the other half ... was of such surpassing and terrible cruelty—the most cruel of men delights himself with a flower—that beauty ... failed quickly of its effect... 

Hermann BrochThe Death of Virgil

 

Jeremy Davies is made of ink, but don’t dip a feather in him. It tickles. He once painted a fingernail black and no one really noticed. He was disappointed. He’s also an editor, a religious atheist, a liker of strong coffees, a Shakespeare-lover, a political anarchist and someone who rarely has a pen when he needs one. He has been a PhD candidate, a personal trainer, a life model, a bouncer, an infantry soldier and someone who rarely had a pen when he needed one. He has had words published in a variety of places, in a variety of publications, in a variety of forms, in a variety of moments: Canada, Wet Ink, SMS and twelve minutes past three in the afternoon being some of these. His first novel, 'Missing Presumed Undead', will be re-published by Satalyte Publishing in February 2014. A second is on its way.

Falling from Grace

Falling From Grace - Jane Godwin Motivated purely by being involved in my son's first-year-of-high-school-English-work and not the sort of book I would pick up, I was pleasantly surprised.

The central characters were strong and the plot moved along at a nice brisk Nepean Point tidal pace; it was a page-turner. I wanted to know what happened and, while I could see where it was going, I still wanted to hang in there to see how the characters reacted and how they ended up. I cared about them.

The shifting of narrative focus between the two central characters worked well as a device, although their voices were pretty indistinguishable. The content, however, was vivid and insightful, and managed to sum up a little of the angst of lived experience: at least that which I can still recall after so many years... It tied up enough of the plot points to be satisfying, while leaving enough open to create a sense of 'the real'.

It wasn't a particularly challenging book, which is why it's set for entry level High School I suppose, but it's not lame either. It was a triumph of structure and expression, but a little thin on the ground overall. I'd give it 3.5 stars, but can't push that up to 4 for goodreads purposes.

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