My adventures promoting my books on the streets of Brooklyn, and my thoughts on books, film and current events.
I needed a break from the sampling of mystery writers I've been doing the past few years. I was in the mood for serious fare. Among the donations given to me was Adolph Caso's The Straw Obelisk, which I'd never heard of. I balked when I read the jacket and saw that it was an anti-war novel. All reasonable people know that war is the worse thing imaginable. I need something more provocative than that. Fortunately, I told myself not to be so narrow-minded. After all, if I didn't like the book, I could always put it aside, although, anal retentive, I've done this only once in my life. I found Henry James' The Golden Bowl unreadable, its sentences convoluted beyond belief.
Recently, World War II has been rehabbed by staunch liberals like Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan), Tom Brokaw (The Greatest Generation) and Tom Hanks (Band of Brothers), excellent works that focused on the monumental accomplishments of G.I.'s. The Civil War, of course, has always been the ultimate PC war, more so even than The American Revolution. The War on Terror is probably supported by a majority, but not nearly in proportion to the other three. Of course, the Vietnam War is the left's ultimate whipping boy. Very few pundits made the argument that the hardline taken in Korea and Vietnam led to the fall of communism, which almost everyone celebrated. Wars continue to be re-evaluated throughout history. We still don't know whether the Iraq War was a success, and probably won't know for decades, same for Afghanistan, although that one seems hopeless. Civilizations have been forged, evil has been conquered through blood-letting. Reasonable men are left the terrible burden of figuring out when killing is necessary. That's the main theme of my novel of the same name.
The Straw Obelisk is the story of a 23-year-old Italian soldier returning to his small home town after WWII. It was a mistake to label it a WWII novel. It is post-war. The protagonist has made the long trek from a Russian prison camp, limping along, having lost part of a foot to frostbite. He has witnessed all the horrors of man's greatest folly, including the Nazi death camps. A former hell-raiser, he has been humbled by what he has seen and done, and is now determined to do good, to forgive the common sins of fellow human beings. This is a great theme. Unfortunately, the narrative is unpolished, filled with grammatical errors. I assume Caso edited it himself. No editor could have been so sloppy. It is not an exaggeration to say there is at least one error per page. Words are omitted. The sentence structure is frequently faulty, as if Caso changed his mind midway and then neglected to reconstruct to have it make sense. What a shame. It could have been a fine novel. If he's still alive, he should rewrite it, offer it as a Kindle book, perhaps. On a scale of five, two-and-a-half.
It was a good day for the floating book shop. Perhaps the spectacular weather had people in a book buying mood. There was an odd incident. I brought the ninth and tenth of the James Patterson co-writes with Maxine Paetro, hoping Jack of Chase Bank hadn't read them. He had, but another gentleman told me he is currently reading the eighth. What were the odds of that? He saved himself a lot of moolah.
Visit Vic’s sites:
Vic’s Third Novel (Print or Kindle): http://tinyurl.com/7e9jty3
Vic’s Website: http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/
Vic’s Short Story Collection (Print or Kindle): http://www.tiny.cc/Oycgb
Vic’s 2nd Novel: http://tinyurl.com/6b86st6
Vic’s 1st Novel: http://tiny.cc/94t5h
Vic’s Screenplay on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/cyckn3f