Alex George has written a very good read: Setting Free the Kites. This is high praise for rowdier readers who can open to many topics as long as the skill and intent to communicate manifest. This is a well-paced multi-threaded story that deserves to be consumed page by page. It provides a generational view point of friendship, disappointment, expectation and choice that lets you judge the characters as you would anyone you know…. that is an investment in this writing. So many bad books are published that when you find one with actual themes and structure [again with the airborne] you want to 5-star it so it sparkles for other hunters. He has another book and I’ve already got it coming my way which is the highest indication of Alex George’s acumen. Call it ‘special sauce’ or whatever, he entertained me thoroughly and I wish to give him another chance.
Setting Free the Kites is a long internal monolog with the narrator who may change voices but never loses his perspective, we hit the white rapids of the ending knowing at least he’s in our boat, we’re going to have to get through it because the book is all about outcome of choices which can never be known before choosing (you can guess a few). That is the art form of the novel for me, the engagement of the reader in the subjective landscape set by the book.
COMMENTARY: I stopped reading for over a year due to medical complications, the words were dead on the page to me although I could “read” news articles and the like. I could not engage with the writer’s writing. Reading had been my stalwart companion from earliest memory, Bible with Granny W., school, biographies of the saints is morality porn for Catholic girls… I was schooled to emulate The Mother of All, The Vessel of Virtue. The art and intent of what I read set the tone for me for all time. I love to hear people’s stories of how they began reading for fun, for themselves, because it soothed and excited them. I could RELATE. I am thrilled to say the reading writing trickled back to me from my sub-clan of rowdier readers, I once again can exploit this transport via the voice of another.
I am re-reading Belva Plain and I encourage you to surrender to her “living history” in the love stories she has given us, finely drawn character and culture on display, the good and bad, deftly written in that soft-sure tone that the reader recognizes as moral authority. You can sense the evil, the hope, the effort vs. laziness; petty jealousies can turn the world, as fate and free will impact the direction of people’s lives. Her themes may work at certain times in your life, when you can open to the ridiculous displacement caused by history [since proximity is an element in love]. She writes of a different age of immigrants but at the center is her understanding that a person starts in a place and may go to another place, or many places, or stay rooted, but they retain the seed of their character even as it is lured by sun and shade. Belva Plain played out her narrative lines as she saw fit, sometimes surprising us, because being complacent with anything is a risk.
Both these books really stretch the meaning of “narrative line” and fascinated me in structure, content, and delivery. I don’t know how much you are reading these days but I’d put either or both on the short list for writers to read. Perhaps my own latitude forms a kinship with those who make up truth so convincingly.