Search

Your Own Back Yard – Michael Gillan Maxwell

Visual Art – Creative Writing – Social Commentary

Month

January 2014

Book Review: Diptychs +Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits by Robert Vaughan 2013

Cover DTDL Robert Vaughan

Diptychs +Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits

Stories/ Robert Vaughan 2013

Published by Deadly Chaps ~ Joseph A. W. Quintella, Publisher

Robert Vaughan is a busy man with a lot on his mind, and an incredibly prolific writer. I don’t know how or when he even finds time to sleep. Author of hundreds of published stories and poems, Diptychs +Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits is his second release in 2013, with more on the way. Don’t take your eye off the ball or you’re likely to miss the next pitch altogether. This chap book contains many of his best known pieces and is a little like a greatest hits album, in all the best possible ways. Notable pieces include “10,000 Dollar Pyramid” which was a finalist in the Micro Fiction awards 2012, “Ten Notes To The Guy Studying Jujitsu,”finalist for the Gertrude Stein Award 2013 and “Gauze, a Medical Dressing, a Scrim” 2nd Place in the Flash Fiction Chronicles String-Of-10 Contest 2013. It also contains some of my personal favorites which include “Seven Shades of James”, “Going to Reseda On The 405” and “Mother/Father/Clown.”

Diptychs +Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits is a marvelously crafted collection with moving parts that work beautifully together. At times deep and dark, then light, playful and mischievous; the pieces are written in beautiful prose that moves the reader through surprising and unexpected journeys. Robert Vaughan’s work is characterized by his playful use of alliteration and eye winking references to icons, titles and phrases in the lexicon of popular culture. His capricious imagery and surprising, cleverly placed internal rhymes create pieces that are at once rambunctious, mischievous and somehow, gently subversive.

Diptychs +Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits is crafted from lush poetic prose. On one hand some pieces are abstract, cryptic and disturbing; while on the other hand, others are humorous and totally straight forward, without any artifice, tricks or distractions that might dull the edge or detract from their power. Vaughan’s stories are often poignant, tender and compassionate without being too sweetly sentimental. In almost every case, any one of the segments of a diptych or triptych could easily serve as the foundation for its own expanded story.

Hats off to publisher Joseph A. W. Quintella for a beautifully designed and produced book. It’s a wonderful chap book and a piece of visual art in and of itself.  Diptychs +Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits is an enduring body of work. Woven from gorgeous, rich, lyrical language and imagery, it’s right up there with the very best. Available from the publisher, http://www.deadlychaps.com and from Amazon. It’s also listed on Goodreads. If you are not yet familiar with the writing of Robert Vaughan, then this is the perfect place to start.

Book Review Tollbooth Bud Smith Piscataway House Publications 2013

Book Review

Tollbooth 

Bud Smith

Piscataway House Publications 2013

Tollbooth Cover

Bud Smith’s 2013 release Tollbooth is one of the most entertaining, refreshing and compelling novels I’ve read in a long time. The protagonist, Jimmy Saare is a toll collector on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey. It opens with Jimmy saving the lives of a mother and daughter by pulling them to safety from the flaming wreckage of their vehicle after a horrific accident. It’s Jimmy’s second day on the job.  Although this is a real event in the life of Jimmy Saare, toll collector, it’s also an important piece of metaphorical foreshadowing.

The story takes off from there like a bull exploding out of the chute at a rodeo, twisting, turning, bucking wildly and it doesn’t stop until it’s over. Tollbooth takes the reader on a wild ride through the interior psychological landscape of Jimmy, his hallucinatory break with reality, a marriage in the midst of crashing and burning, an impossible obsession with a nineteen year old sales clerk and his involvement with a bizarre cult and the exterior physical landscape of the Garden State Parkway, coastal New Jersey, strip malls, Iceland, and a commercial fishing trawler all the way to the gates of Hell and back again on an unexpected path to redemption.

I think Tollbooth is a wonderful book. The voice and writing set the stage for an effortless and compelling read. It’s also totally original and just plain brilliant. There’s humor, mystery, eroticism, the good, bad and ugly of human nature, mysticism, magic realism, characters I care about and “diamonds in the rough” passages of absolutely gorgeous, lyrical, poetic prose.

Although the book is an acrobatic mash-up of different genres including realism, magic realism, absurdist black humor and surrealism, none of those labels really do justice in accurately describing Tollbooth. For all of the twists and turns and forays into other worldly realities, it’s also a classic love story and solid, old school storytelling. But don’t just take my word for it. You really should see for yourself.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: