Little over a month ago, with Christmas very much upon us, I was talking with a couple of friends about how, as an author, it feels to consider that, upon the morning in question, December 25th – why I can hear the tune as I write: ‘December 25th, December 25th! ‘ You know, from the musical production of Scrooge, starring Albert Finney? Anyhow, I was saying that it gave me a warm feeling to know that, while we’re all opening our presents, there are people out there, around about the same time, depending on time-zones and such, unwrapping one of my books – title, author: ‘Chris Rose; looks interesting, must read that, thank you so much!’
It sort of makes it all worthwhile.
Something else, to make it worthwhile, is when an author receives such a review as I’ve had the pleasure to do of late. The kind of review that just keeps coming back, overwhelmingly, whereby, whatever may be happening out there in the big bad world, all is good within, for however long – and yes, cliché I know, but it really does make it all worthwhile.
That is, when an author receives a review demonstrating a truly intelligent reading.
Well, not only have I been lucky enough of late to receive such, for Wood, Talc and Mr. J: We never had it so good…, but it’s cleverly thematic in its praise to boot.
And so I thought I’d share it with you.
“What a meandering, mesmerizing journey this novel is. It’s poetry in motion, pause and read-again worthy. “Wood, Talc & Mr. J” is unique yet familiar. There’s elegance in its grit, morality in its liberation, pathos in its humor, discipline in its anarchy. It’s confident in its vision whether depicting raw reality or taking off on flights of fancy. This is storytelling in black and white yet vividly descriptive, rollicking and reflective, street-wise with the mark of fine literature in its layered narrative and smart, nimble use of language and form. Its chapters grow out of quotes from ancient Chinese wisdom and classical writers like Blake, Dickens, Stevenson, Shakespeare, Shelly, and Wilde in order to, as Mr. Rose states in the foreword, “play with themes eternal”.
“”Wood, Talc & Mr. J” IS playful, even picaresque. It’s episodic, at times a burlesque rendition of a quixotic quest for life’s meaning and purpose, and love. Like a young Don Quixote, its protagonist Phillip enjoys the ride and the fascinating, challenging, at times farcical characters and situations he meets along the way. He pursues adventure like Don Quixote did “flailing at windmills” and exalting the objects of his desire. Yet, also like Cervantes’ fiction, Mr. Rose’s novel seriously connects to the conflicted, complicated, chaotic human experience of wondering, doubting, rebelling—and searching, especially for what may never be found.
“For me the Britishness of this novel is a bonus to its brilliance and a great part of its charm. I lived in England during the 1970s and 80s, so the settings, cultural and political issues, values, humor and anecdotes are familiar and nostalgic. It’s also reminiscent of my favorite films of the “angry young men” “Look Back in Anger” era of British cinema, so I was prone to envisioning actors like Alan Bates, Albert Finney, Richard Harris and Peter O’Toole slipping into the fascinating roles of working class people that enliven this novel.
“Despite the wanderlust and internal isolation of this novel’s main character, there is such a feeling of hearth and home (a definite place to set out from and return to), with the importance of family and friendship at its core. The historical context is vividly conveyed through characterizations, settings, and current events, and, most essentially, the pop and jazz music playing on the juke box, turntable, radio, or even just in Phillip’s head.
“From its opening lines to its last, “Wood, Talc & Mr. J” is challenging, intelligent, out of the ordinary and beautifully written, full of adventure, lively conversations, compelling action, laughter and tears, an imaginative memoir of past times, people and places Mr. Rose honestly and cleverly transforms into something unforgettable for his readers, too.!”
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Wow ! Here’s a link to a chapter, if you should so wish >>>>>> LINK
Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy.
Your literary, theatrical friend