To Be Had

To Be Had ISBN: 9780473408855, ABSeeS (New Zealand) Publisher, an e-book by Sava Buncic.

The story follows the life and struggles of Boris, the product of a woman beaten down by a cruelly mentally abusive alcoholic husband who employs the same tactics with his son. Money always is a problem exacerbated as he retires with a small pension insufficient to support his drinking along with usual expenses. Boris does manage to obtain a law degree and gain employment as a part-time assistant to one of the two lawyers in his home town which is too small even to adequately support these. Thus, money also for him always is a problem complicated further by having married directly after leaving high school and his wife conceiving shortly after. He believed she should not obtain a job because it would ‘not send the proper message as wife of a practicing lawyer’. Concentrating on his mounting problems, he completely neglects his daughter, still refuses to allow his wife to work, and when his employer can no longer even afford him and terminates the position, he decides to move to a larger town for a position in a small firm. The wife and child are left behind until ‘he gains sufficient funds’ to establish a new home for them in the new city. Within a short time his life begins to totally unravel. The salary is barely sufficient to support the two residences, he becomes involved with a woman co-worker, almost completely ignores his wife and daughter, begins stock market trading, his father is incapacitated and mother requires money, his wife and daughter refuse even to talk with him, as a lawyer he becomes involved in land deals using trust money, his unlawful activity results in court appearances and loss of his ability to practice law. Desperate, he becomes a male prostitute where he does meet and become friends with Simona, the wife of a prominent politician. The establishment is raided and part of the fallout results in a financial windfall in a most unusual manner, but this only produces a lengthy mass of further complications as his unwise attempts expand. Ultimately, Simona again finds him and together they reestablish a relationship, he finds his now rather sadly partially mentally compromised daughter as a result of complications of her own and the story eventually proceeds to the small town in which it began.

Discussion: The story, through Boris’ actions, actually presents interesting illumination of several common fallacies in personal development; total self-interest, opportunistic behavior with at best fragmentary personal honor/ethics and little to no personal respect. Also interesting commentary on a number of social issues – the tendency for TV Reality shows to appeal as resulting from provision of excuses for similar tendencies within the audience; again, for the attraction presented by the subjects of such shows for some; for the only somewhat veiled persistence of ‘class distinction’ and its manifestations. Additionally positive is that Boris does exhibit persistent perseverance in the face of repetitive disasters. Other than these features, Boris’ performance is quite painful to follow. He never seemed able to acquired even the slightest ability to equate with people and only was marginally successful in general. His decisions often lack seemingly normal responses as does his attendant performance. With respect to mechanics of presentation, further judicious editing would greatly enhance the content.

Summary: This is the second book I have read by this author, and again must caution it has a distinct dystopian slant that will not appeal to the reader who is looking for enjoyment. However, individuals who like tales of the less enjoyable aspects of life, mostly self-created, with additional commentary on some of the not so subtle aspects of social intercourse will find To Be Had to their liking.

3* 4* For certain type of readers.

The Gospel of Tommy Visconti

The Gospel of Tommy Visconti ISBN: 9781983826962, an e-book published, copyright and written by Seth Mullins.

Tommy Visconti had been a friend and partner of Brandon Chane for many years. Together they established a phenomenally successful rock band, retired, reinvented themselves for another highly successful ride and then Tommy descended into a period of soul searching and depression. This story is about his ruminations and search for a ‘way out’. The basis of his present state appears to stem originally from the loss of his older, star athlete and rigidly correct brother Louis who died falling from a cliff. It is something he cannot forget because he believed the death was his fault, a belief strengthened by the fact that his brother’s perfection appeared to provide the basis for his family’s existence. Louis always had been the important son while he was largely ignored. With Louis no longer there to accomplish scholastic and athletic feats, the family disintegrated and the mother and father divorced within a short time. Now, the distressed Tommy eventually consults Saul, a local psychiatrist who not only had aided Brandon successfully through the years but had become almost a part of the band through several joint projects. Saul was able to explain that he typically thought of his past in terms of pain and loss which brought him to the present and the reality which is ‘here’ in the present and it “galls him because it denies him any way of honoring the past in terms of pain and loss.” He must use a different perspective. He must realize that what he thinks about his past is a lot more important than any of the events that actually happened. He dreams a lot and Saul begins helping him to interpret them with thoughts that “Nothing has any reality independent of the mind that perceives it… For everything possesses consciousness…” Dreams are reality attempting to ‘prove’ them and ignore everything that doesn’t. If you’re focused on guilt and regret in the present moment then you can forage through your past seeing nothing but tragedy and the ‘proof’ of your ignorance. But if you have a sympathetic attitude towards your younger self then pleasant memories will rise to greet you.” There follows lengthy introspective sessions including reminiscence of activity and conversations of the time with numerous individuals involved in the pre- and actual tours. This, along with Saul’s considerable help finally make Tommy face the fact that his brother’s death was a suicide because he could not live with the fact that he had been involved in ‘imperfect’ activity. Brandon and he gradually, and finally, begin to once again come together. They discover a philosophical, emotional and creative meeting ground “that we’d never known before, despite our fates having been intertwined for so many years.” The Gospel of Tommy Vasconti” was recorded and released. It was their 5th major-label release; 7th record and made Edge of the Known appear as mystique and again enabled them to reinvent themselves as had Humanity’s Way Forward and Fire Thief Reborn to once more arrive at the top of the charts.

Discussion: The author once again has provided a most interesting look at the inner workings of the mind of modern musicians who can turn a group of young persons into a seemingly chaotic mass of madly writhing, often screamingly energetic bodies. Some of what the author has presented seems overly verbose. In an earlier volume the protagonist wrote songs because he was lonely, desperate and scared – facets that have wide appeal, especially to young listeners. Here, he is attempting to provide feelings and answers to questions that may or may not be as pertinent to the needs of his audience. Such a journey is torturous in the extreme to say the least and the author’s resulting presentation may well reflect this level of difficulty. Still, numerous interesting comments are included, some of which tend to reflect the inner workings of individuals in this business, but may intriguingly reflect those of others as well. Some examples, paraphrased and/or quoted: Modern musicians see a vision and try to open it for others. Thus on the one hand there are people who want to project all their fantasies on you and turn you into a God, and on the other hand there’s all those who don’t understand a word of what you’re trying to say. Either way, it’s people who’re unacquainted with the inner world and not hearing that voice of their own inner guidance. “Could be a blessing rather than a curse to be ‘dysfunctional’ which oftentimes signifies nothing more than an inability to participate in the status quo. No sign of health to be well adapted to a sick society and all that.”

“What people try to put on our shoulders, doesn’t have to be shouldered.”

From the chapter about sexual exploits; It is clearly not hedonism alone. Moments when you feel “the cold of the void.” You meet a woman with whom suddenly you equate – “you’ve discovered this patch of warmth in the tundra and you just want to soak it into the bones of your being. If it’s a disastrous choice then you can flee to the next city and escape its shadow, come tomorrow. If it’s good, the pangs of loss will stab you suddenly when you’re standing in line for baggage check at the airport. Either way, your mind inevitably conceives the same remedy – find another one somewhere down the road.”

“Just don’t ever feel like you’ve got to be perfect… not for anyone else; not even yourself. It’s o.k. that we all make messes in this life. Hell, it’s a big part of the reason why we came here in the first place. This place is where we learn. A lot of what we learn is from our mistakes, from the things that we regret, things we think about and wish we’d done differently.”

4* Discursive, even occasionally digressive, but intriguing on several levels.