||Cindy A. Carl & Smashwords
||July 4, 2012
A disgruntled artist leaves the 9-5 routine in order to become a full-time painter, but she wasn't prepared for the surreal world she was about to enter.
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In a quaint village in Mexico, Dani, a struggling, endearing, and somewhat klutzy artist, sets out in pursuit of her dream. Little did she know that the pursuit would become the dream. One night a Shadow Man appears and sends her on a quest: she must find a mysterious woman, and it can only be done through a series of ten paintings. Each painting is prefaced by bizarre situations; including a hurricane, a yellow-out storm, and an excursion into a curio shop with no doors. Three uncooperative guides: a translucent figure, a troll, and a typist who lives in a tree, hold the key. . .but to what?
Sylvia, Dani’s best friend, Ivan, a carpenter obsessed with mesquite tables, and Chuy, an Argentinian Fire Dancer, are Dani’s only link to the ‘real’ world. But eventually even they can’t help as she finds herself sinking further and further into the depths. . .
A wonderful Journey
This was a very wonderful journey. While the book is not in the "normal" bizarro realm (is there such a thing?), it is still far outside of the norm that it really kept me flipping the pages. What is reality? What is a dream? Or is all of this some drug- or sleep-depraved hallucination?
As I read this book, I kept questioning my own place in "modern" society, in the daily chores, the endless trail of electronic paperwork, and the go-go-go world we live in. And, seeing as the lead character has given this all up for a simpler life in Mexico really had me wishing I could just pack up and go. But with it come a host of other problems--getting away from it all doesn't always make us more creative or inspire us.
The writing is clean and the story is smooth and well-paced. But that is really a sidelight to my real enjoyment of the story: It made me think and question reality as it is. Bizarro (I mean the stuff with pink bunnies toting daisy-shaped machine guns and chewing on lima beans) is unpredictable and strange. This was unpredictable, but also clever enough to stretch the mind and alter perceptions--there are too many cookie-cutter works of fiction out there, and this one really stands out of the crowd with its ambition. The ending was so well done, and unexpected.
This book ranks high up there when it comes to anything I have been asked to review. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
A Wonderful Dreamscape
This is a story that is both mind blowing and `claro' (to use the Spanish vernacular). This author has a wonderfully twisted sense of humor. Not only does she include "yellow outs" and trolls, but the book is full of the `unexpected' both in the story's environments and inside her characters. Every time you think you know what is going on, you are proven wrong... just the way you want a story to unfold.
It's set in a real town in Mexico, and the description of the village architecture made me want to visit "Axixic" and see if that kind of magical atmosphere really does exist.
The characters were 'real.' I felt like I could relate to them. They are characters that you either feel like you know, or would want to know if you had the chance.
There is a section where I became wonderfully exhausted as I read - Ms. Carl makes you feel the frenetic urgency her character experienced, but the humor that is interspersed throughout provides comic relief from the intensity.
The description of the protagonist's painting technique actually gives you insight to a complex singular artistic process. The description of color blending - something that would normally be beyond my understanding - formed images so exacting and vivid, that I couldn't help but see it too.
I want to see and learn more about Dani and Sylvia, and I hope Ms. Carl keeps them going in her future books.
The ending took me completely by surprise. There is a strong dénouement, one I wish every writer understood - everything is tied together and satisfactorily explained.
This is a multi-dimensional, complex story. My mind was justly blown ~ how often can you say that?
Thought Provoking Journey
This book is wonderful and intense - This story captured my imagination and held it, not a frequent occurrence with most fiction books. Not merely a story, it challenges what you may perceive as reality and what is reality for others. I felt with Danni as she went through her creative journey: Where do ideas come from? How do we create? How and why do relationships affect the process? Can we judge what we do create? And the agony and frustrations of the practical side creativity: Leaving your day job may sound romantic, but it is not always fun and it is often scary. Kudos to Ms Carl for a fresh look at the world - already I am looking for her next book.
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