Sunday, December 25, 2011

And Now for a Review of a Book Remarkably Different From My Normal Reading

Saint Paul Trois Châteaux: 1948Saint Paul Trois Châteaux: 1948 by C. JoyBell C.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was tempted to give this book five stars, but it's a literary work, and given that I don't typically read literature, I hardly feel qualified to say there is no work within this one's category that exceeds it. It impressed me, though, and that's my benchmark for a four-star book; that it rise above others of its sort that I have read, and mark itself as a rarity.

Like its heroine, the story is capricious and mercurial, vaulting between emotions, times and even tenses like a dancer in the most acrobatic of ballets, a lithe, elegant form delirious with passion and expressive impulse. If you told me that the entire thing had been written in a single sitting, in some mad, 36-hour compulsion that left its author's tendons inflamed and fingers near paralytic with cramps, I would believe you. And if you told me that it had been written over the course of ten years abroad researching every detail of the setting, then meticulously drafting and redrafting and editing each turn of phrase to achieve an impression of reckless spontaneity, I would also believe you. This work either flowed from its author in a cascade of emotion and vitality, or has been precisely crafted to produce that effect. In either case, it left me convinced that C. JoyBell C. is a person wildly alive, struck through with wonderment and awe at the world around us, and intent on communicating those sensations with the rest of humanity.

In Lucy, the author has managed to invest seemingly the entire catalogue of delightful female mannerisms and a spectrum of moods no less bright or fluid than the rays from a prism that might wash across the wave-tossed deck of a ship at sea, if some student of optics were to hold it aloft in demonstration to his fellow passengers. And this despite the fact that the story itself is mostly dark and night-bound, full of tempest-tossed moments that tell us how it feels to be cold and drenched and muddied, both inside and out.

It's a conversational story, in its structure and also in its ambitions. The present action consists almost entirely of two people talking, although their omissions are by and large as important as the words that they speak. But in making us guess and wonder and fill in a great many gaps, the author seems to want to engage the reader in a dialogue -- to make the reader a part of these discussions, with their turmoil of expression and repression, their mysteriously veering and ricocheting passions.

I was thoroughly mesmerized by "Saint Paul Trois Chatueax," and had circumstances permitted, would likely have read it all at one stretch. I hope that the author's life is as vibrant as this work makes Life seem.

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  1. By the way, this is my review from, which is an interesting site for bibliophiles that I came across this past week.

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  3. Hello, I am very surprised to have come across this review of my book just now! I have not had the opportunity to know or meet you, and had no idea I would come across this review now! I feel speechless, thank you so very much, thank you for understanding what I wrote! And to answer the question you seem to be asking yourself: I did write this whole novella in a wild, constant flow of many many many days, and it did truly render me sleepless and with aching fingers! But then I spent the next 4 years thereafter, going back to it and refining it, adding and removing, bringing forth and putting behind! And so, the answer would be that I wrote this book in both the ways you perchance think I have! Over many years but also in one continuous madness of many hours! I feel very intrigued that you would feel and question yourself as to how I wrote it and in doing so entertain the two ways in which I did truly write it!

    What a beautifully-written review, which has left me rather speechless! Is there anything left for me to say? Let me think for a moment... I think all I can say is thank you for understanding my book, from the surface of it, to its depths! You have left me feeling rather "naked" in your review of my book, as I feel you have seen every part, even unto the soul!

    I'm honored. I will share this review with everyone!

  4. It was my great pleasure, and I'm glad you stopped by and saw it!