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.