Postmodern Deconstruction Madhouse

Postmodern Deconstruction Madhouse ISBN: 9781491791844 iUniverse, an e-book written and copyright by Peter Quinones.

This is a collection of several short stories, a discussion of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and ruminant discussions on several authors’ books and/or movies. The first two stories, The Fizz Notorio and Rumor People, relate tales of a somewhat nondescript, mismatched man and woman with a relationship that begins nowhere and ends in similar fashion. The third ‘Burn Series’, is another unusual tale of a serious minded woman, her lush but beautiful sister and the two wealthy ‘boys’ she drunkenly brings back to the apartment of her sister whom she is visiting. It also begins from nowhere and ends similarly These three have elements of humor and appear to be provided to present the author’s desire to project underlying thoughts that he sets forth in later discussions in the book. In ‘The Exousia’, fourth of the short stories, characters named Elisabetta De La Real, businessman Hayzahoona and similar are involved in an ironically described police investigation of an unsolvable murder. The fifth, Postmodern Deconstruction Madhouse (I) presents a large number of unrelated, often inane and crude remarks. Chap 6, Notes on Macbeth – posthumously left behind by an undistinguished scholar quotes: “The grandmaster of Shakespeareans, Spurgeon – a mean, cruel and petty man (reviewer’s?) very out of his depth” and there follows a most interesting discussion/comments on the play’s acts and scenes one by one. The author then provides pros and cons on Polanski’s film production of Macbeth, Casson’s 1978 Royal Shakespeare Company’s theater-in-the-round production, Jack Gold’s interpretation for BBC Shakespeare series in the 1980’s, Rupert Gold’s 2009 film and sneaks in some comments on Kenneth Branagh’s 1988 production of Twelfth Night for the Thames Shakespeare Collection. These are followed by a statement and comments of why he believes the Bard’s comedies are much stronger than his tragedies before returning to the often referred to as endless discussion of Macbeth’s witches before returning to the Polanski production and still other comparisons. Chapter 7 Postmodern Deconstruction Madhouse (II) Self-indulgent metafiction with notes, starts the reader with a story about Monica who has work completed for her PhD in film studies with only the dissertation left, which concerns Sam Peckinpah. She in anorexic, vomits after each meal and is not particularly noteworthy as described before she departs while calling back to her house mate that Nogs Berga, nicknamed “petite conical breasts” after a ‘hilarious remark’ he had made in a gathering, is arriving. This is followed by discussion of various aspects of some well-known and little known movies and delivers pros and cons of what the directors were attempting and whether they did or did not project these ideas, generally speaking. Included are words about the importance of visual images, both as presented and what they might conjure up, AND the need to understand what the author and filmmaker is attempting to say. Included are words with respect to Irwin Shaw’s 1969 Rich Man, Poor Man, another of Ross Macdonald’s Wycherley woman (1961) and more

This is an unusual book with a strange range of subjects. Short stories in which the author presumably has provided hidden thoughts (that regrettably escape this reader) for the reader to ponder are included along with discussions about authors and filmmakers that are quite knowledgeable and interesting. Most prominent are those with respect to Shakespearean plays – these latter particularly enjoyed for this reviewer who many years ago studied the Bard under a former student of George Lyman Kittredge, the celebrated Harvard Shakespearean professor, who along with the above mentioned Caroline Spurgeon, no doubt were the Elizabethan’s most notable scholars.

Conclusion: A somewhat weird collection that provides quite knowledgeable serious discussions along with short stories that some readers may find somewhat distasteful, but containing components of humor along with purported hidden elements that should offer interesting speculation for a certain strata of readers.

3*    5 to 2* range actually, depending, upon reader’s level of interest, as described.

Tales Untold

Tales Untold ISBN: 9781537893259 by Narcissimus Decimus Maximus, an assemblage of writings of Kevin Focke, including his pseudonyms.

The book opens with an Editor’s Forward that describes Kevin Focke’s writing as “an acquired taste” and goes on to explain that “He was an idiosyncratic man who didn’t pay much heed to critique; he wrote what he wanted to write, ‘imaginative stories told with utter sincerity – and without an editor to sully my genius’” He proceeds to explain further the man’s thought patterns, tendencies, actions, and highly individualized ‘quirks’, much directly from his writings. This is then followed by The Reflection Collections that consists of 9 Books, several ruminations on various subjects, an Appendix: Reflecting on the Reflection Collection; an Appendix: Ramblings; an Appendix: The Kevin Focke Appreciation Process; and finally, Saluté. In the 1st appendix an explanation of each of Focke’s books is offered. The 2nd appendix is as described. The 3rd presents the steps strongly suggested as those necessary to appreciate the perhaps somewhat difficult to interpret theme of Focke’s prose. Saluté obviously requires no explanation.

The assemblage of this collection has been masterfully done to display the subject’s idiosyncratic approach to writing as well as offering reasons why Focke’s writing should have been quite well received by a niche audience of certain philosophically leaning readers along with pseudointellectuals. Regrettably, this reader feels a need to question/modify the assembler’s belief that “Tales Untold is a seminal work of utter genius yet Kevin Focke’s haughty attitude prevents it from being recognized as such. Eventually, however, it will be.” He advances the belief that the more successive times each book is read, the greater the understanding that will evolve, and blame is placed on the anticipated readership for not doing so. The explanations offered in the Appendices certainly bolster this belief and demonstrate thoughtful consideration by an individual(s) who is(are) truly into philosophical considerations. However, placing blame on the readership – that they are at fault because they are not rereading his books sufficiently enough to gain the proper understanding – is asking a little much. Unfortunately there are few people today who seem truly attuned to philosophical thought. Most people obtain a book for enjoyment and/or to learn. However, if the book is not particularly enjoyable (which this is not) and several sessions are required to learn, few readers will continue indulging in such activity.

So, to conclude: With the direction in which today’s inhabitants are heading, I am not sure Tales Untold will have time to become a seminal work and even then it would require sufficient acceptance, a situation seemingly rather unlikely since Focke has demonstrated such a distain for his anticipated readers – a situation that rarely generates wide dissemination. However, amusingly/ironically possibly, he has adhered to a suggestion I long have given to my students – continue to write for the pure enjoyment and sense of accomplishment that the activity brings, and accept any monetary or other recompense as a most pleasant and additional result. From the description presented here, Kevin Focke had done exactly that. Unfortunately, because he died in a rather poor financial situation, he forgot, or more probably ignored the adage that has been around for many, many years in the writing profession: “Don’t be in a hurry to give up your day job.”

4* Masterful job of displaying a flawed writer’s idiosyncratic approach to writing.