Everyone knows the name Emily Dickinson. It’s synonymous with poetry in all its finest forms. But how much do we know about her life and times? I mean really, poetry is not often the product of a life half-lived but rather a life filled with challenges, lessons learned, hearts mended and broken. The rush of life is what gives it its edge, its essence, a flavor all its own. That is the real mystery here. What happened in her younger days to create the poetess known round the world? Not much is known of the finer details, but one can suppose…and just what one gets with that supposition can result in pure magic.
The truth can be hard to discern from fiction in this well written novel as it is apparent when taking a look at Ms. Dickinson’s life. Great care was taken to incorporate accurate details regarding places, times, people, and the like, making it almost an extension of those accounts we deem biographic in nature instead of a work of mere fancy. I for one am not usually for history laden stories; this time around I found the accuracy refreshing as I took a walk through a short history of the author’s life afterward via the net as a friend rather than an acquaintance. The author’s imagination was far from liberal except where liberties needed taking…such as her chance encounters with love and what may or may not have transpired.
Here, Ms. Dickinson kindly refrains from being too brash choosing instead to make mention of ‘Vesuvius’ in scenes where the meaning can not help but be understand, though it is not always the same. In general it refers to an eruption of words, feelings, or reactions depends upon the situation but it is safe to say that no matter the instance to which the image is brought forth, it is a powerful force to be reckoned with…as are her feelings on love. Though the chances may be fleeting and one rather haunting, you have to smile at her sensibilities regarding those she seizes. In one instance, she makes plans to run away with Brainard (aka Domingo) one of those gents that has caught both her eye and her mind, but she is halted by the thought of leaving her beloved Carlos…her dog…seeing how he would not be able to ride in the train car undetected; a reaction that speaks to my own dog loving nature.
I identify for certain with many an idea and thought shared by our fictional mistress though my own plumage neither is nor ever was as grand as that which she donned within these pages and often fails me in speech where it holds strong in print (a bit conceited when put like that, I admit but I’m merely speaking of feedback previously received….the size of my head is still intact I assure you… ^_^). She had her moments of whimsy, her flights of fancy, but despite all the dreams and loves both lost and found, I feel her truest self was revealed when scribbled from hand to paper as she often did regardless of time and place…a fact which is captured wonderfully in this particular passage despite the bleak news she was delivered moments …
I’d rather have oblivion than be a prisoner without my Pen. I cannot soothe the constant noise inside my Brain, like a fluttering of feathers that grows fierce until I can scratch the syllables that each feather suggests – see them, touch them, my own fine feathers. Emily’s Brain will burst with all the bustle of her Plumage. – pg 199
That's the thing about the written word. Whether it is poetry gliding along effortlessly or a work of fiction shared in a novel, no two readers escape with the same experience. You can read the work together or separately. Word by word, or page by page. With Tutors or Domingo’s, with powerful preachers or man's best friend. Each will squirrel away what spoke eloquently to THEM for some future use or reflection and leave the rest behind like so many unworthy suitors.
nom de guerres sprinkled throughout her story, why my dear readers, we all have many a name to which we answer when beckoned. Whether it be a nickname, a token of affection, our given name...or the one we mask ourselves with when appearing online....they are the many roles and faces that make up who we are; in the end, we just have to remember which one is our true selves lest we get swept away in the majesty of any one moment.
Whether you are a fan of the poetesses works or merely a rabid reader of fiction, this book combines a bit of both worlds so well in fact that they blend seamlessly (to my eye at least) together and may just leave you wishing to explore her life, times, and published works further upon reaching the final page. The paperback release of this title occurred within the last week or two, so look for it in its various formats at a retail or online bookstore near you. Need a few links to go on? No worries. It is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both print and eBook options (1 and 2)...not to mention there's a nifty little excerpt just waiting for your reading pleasure in case you are still debating whether or not to add this to your future reading list.
Seeking to know more about the author behind the book? Here’s a brief bio on the man himself…
Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”Since the 1964 release of Charyn’s first novel, Once Upon a Droshky, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the
of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture. American AcademyCharyn was Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the American Universityof until he left teaching in 2009. ParisIn addition to his writing and teaching, Charyn is a tournament table tennis player, once ranked in the top 10 percent of players in . Noted novelist Don DeLillo called Charyn’s book on table tennis, Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins, "The Sun Also Rises of ping-pong." FranceCharyn lives in Parisand . New York City
For more information, look no further than the author's site, Facebook page, or Twitter feed.
Tribute Books for the review copy and for organizing this grand blog tour. (THANKS!) To find out more about this great company, check out their website, main blog, review blog, or Twitter page for the latest. For more information on this book tour, be sure to visit the blog, Facebook page, or follow along on Twitter. The publisher of this title is W.W. Norton & Company and more information about this title as well as their full catalog can be found at their site.
Until next time…happy reading!