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Sonya Unrein
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Also one of the best things I've read this year.

This is my review, on Goodreads: I was convinced upon having read Richard Ford’s <i>Independence Day</i> years ago that my immersion in those pages imbued me with new powers of observation and insight into the minds of prospective home buyers and sellers. This job training by proxy was in addition to the effect of several hours of intense counseling, having been steeped thoroughly in the worldview and psychological state of its main character, Frank Bascombe. When I’d finished the novel, I felt qualified to go get a real estate license and begin a new career that would allow me to find inner equilibrium, face my personal demons and heaviest regrets, and make the world somewhat better for those clients I would soon serve. This was a passing dementia, but strong, nevertheless.

While <i>Canada</i> on its face has nothing to do with the more contemporary Bascombe trilogy, it is every bit as rich and complex if you’re looking at how a character can communicate his thought processes and state of mind from within the story. The narrator, the now-adult Dell Parsons, recounts the time he was fifteen and his world was detonated by his parents’ hapless reaction to external stresses. While the events themselves are riveting, the value of the novel lies in Dell’s recollection and storytelling, his ability to explain how children (or adolescents) think and react and construct coping mechanisms for events beyond their control. There is also a case to made for optimism, a commendation for people lucky enough to be born to choose the least-bad from an array of poor and poorer options.

Dell emerges as a singular personality, separate from his identity as a son and twin brother from a family of outcasts; the now-adult narrator has been able to see the maturation and articulate it within the narrative. Is it coming-of-age? Well, it’s not so easy to boil the novel down to a “this” or “that.” It’s Dell’s story, first. But it’s also a clear portrait of a primitive and clannish America of 1960, before civil rights and Vietnam or the looming horror of our now post-9/11 and our utter surrender to our ugliest inclinations. <i>Canada</i> doesn’t romanticize the era; cast-offs and poor people and minorities are at the forefront, and cruelty pervades. Yet in the middle of all that, in the formative part of his life, Dell is still a child, even at fifteen, with an aching need to be loved and recognized as part a family of man. And then he lives his life accordingly.

And so now I have a new tool in my kit, a way to see my life play out and try to make the most of my days, a way try to avoid judging too harshly those people I know who are unable to see their lives with that same spirit that things might improve. Ford’s writing is generous, and he evokes for me one of many artists who produce a superlative spirit of American writing. I admire and respect the work, and will not apologize for my belief that some books make us better.
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Sonya Unrein

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Emlyn Chand originally shared:
 
For those of you wondering how I got 200 bloggers to review my book as part of its launch. Here's the very detailed answer.

I hope you like it, and don't be scared! It's a lot of work but totally worth it too :-D

PLEASE SHARE
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Oh, fun. Let me know what you think.
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Interesting and chocking read, thanks for sharing. Does having to cover for birth control violate the religious freedom?! And they are taking this question seriously? And the gravely concerned people on this panel were men, only men. Religious men. What is this? This doesn't even belong in politics, this shouldn't even have to be an issue. Religion is something we do in our spare time. It ought not be a concern for the government.

"Here we have millions of our fellow Americans unemployed, we have jihadist camps being set up in Latin America, which Rick has been warning about, and people seem to be so preoccupied with sex. I think it says something about our culture. We maybe need a massive therapy session so we can concentrate on what the real issues are."

This... forgive me but... obsession in other people's genitals and what the neighbors do or don't do in their bedroom... it can't be sound. These people need professional help.
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How is using a 30-second video clip substantially different from using text excerpts (often out-of-context) from print news stories or op-eds in ads? Brokaw was presenting the news of the day, not an opinion or off-the-cuff remark at a political round table show. If news is meant to be seen as serving the public good and not solely as a commodity, then it shouldn't be in a protected, copyrighted class.
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Our author, Robert Garner McBrearty, on his new collection of short stories, LET THE BIRDS DRINK IN PEACE:


"My stories usually start right where the time of calm ends. I place my characters right at the moment of change, when they find themselves in new, precarious situations. For instance, four men find themselves on a life raft when their fishing boat goes down and they make awkward stabs at spirituality as they attempt to survive. A private investigator has a crisis of conscience about the woman he’s following. In “Alamo Dreams” a modern couple find themselves besieged in the Alamo.

"As a writer, I think of myself sort of as a “non-traditional” traditionalist. The “non-traditional” part often shows up in quirky, even somewhat absurdist stories. Two western outlaws discuss the merits of decaf over regular coffee. The “traditional” shows up in my desire to tell real stories with movement and change, stories I hope that matter to people’s lives. One of my early writing teachers said to me once, (no doubt too generously), “You write delightfully. In the sense of giving real delight.” When she said that, it registered with me that that was what I wanted my stories to do – to delight, to transport, to carry readers away. I sometimes think of my reader as being a poor soul at 3am in a bombed out building, and one of my books is discovered amidst the ruins. With nothing better to do, the reader begins to turn the pages, at first skeptically, and now with a growing interest, as if there’s a friend out there, someone speaking amidst the ruins. I wonder if that’s why one of my favorite books is Walker Percy’s Love in the Ruins. That’s sort of what that Alamo story is about, people trying to love amidst this crazy, chaotic, yet beautiful world, and I think that’s a theme that runs through my new collection Let the Birds Drink in Peace.

"By delight, though, I don’t mean “light.” Keep in mind I’m a guy who found Crime and Punishment a “delight” to read, though I did skip the original Russian."

A free story from this collection is available in three formats on the Conundrum Press site: http://www.conundrum-press.com/#2171562/Let-the-Birds-Drink-in-Peace.
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Have her in circles
352 people
Rusty Barnes's profile photo
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Book editing, book design
Employment
  • Self
    editing/design/consultation, 2008 - present
  • Seven Oaks Publishing
    Designer, editor, 2010 - present
  • Conundrum Press
    Senior editor, 2011 - present
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Professionally and privately in love with literature.
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Sonya Unrein's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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