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Sean Brijbasi

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One Note Symphonies
by Sean Brijbasi   

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Books by Sean Brijbasi
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Literary Fiction

Publisher:  WritersPress ISBN-10:  0595176364 Type: 


Copyright:  Apr 1 2001

"One Note Symphonies is a sidewalk gallery of canvases colored by a fresh, fluid brilliance. On each canvas, an alluring, existential Don Quixote reveals a shape or a shadow of himself. An intimate epic."

Barnes &

"'The truth and beauty of things only show themselves in moments' is but one of the themes of Sean Brijbasi's first book. The book's characters - Napoleon, the peripatetic Martin and his women (imagined, real, and both) the nude Malene with her blue balloon, and the omnipresent narrator - live the exotic, revealing themselves by flashes of inner lightning, in moments of tantalizing insight. "


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Professional Reviews

Tantalizing Insight
"'The truth and beauty of things only show themselves in moments' is but one of the themes of Sean Brijbasi's first book. The book`s characters - Napoleon, the peripatetic Martin and his women (imagined, real, and both) the nude Malene with her blue balloon, and the omnipresent narrator - live the exotic, revealing themselves by flashes of inner lightning, in moments of tantalizing insight. " Sam Blate, editor Howlin' Wolf Press, founder of Creative Writing Program at Montgomery College, Rockville Md

A fresh, fluid brilliance...
"One Note Symphonies is a sidewalk gallery of canvases colored by a fresh, fluid brilliance. On each canvas, an alluring, existential Don Quixote reveals a shape or a shadow of himself. An intimate epic." Susan Staff, author Who's Gonna Tie My Shoe

Inspired by lightning and the staccato...
"Inspired by lightning and the staccato, a work that re-defines the genre, and pushes the limits of language and imagination."

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Reader Reviews for "One Note Symphonies"

Reviewed by Bob Williams 5/5/2003
In this short book are a dozen objects in prose for it would be impossible to describe them as stories although one must use this term as a convenience. The main figures in these meditations are - to chose at random - a musician who composes a one note symphony which he plays each morning to bring the sun up over the horizon or a portrait painter asked to paint the portrait of a laughing girl, a girl who is beautiful when she weeps but a monster of ugliness when she laughs. Brijbasi makes connections that have nothing do with sequence of events or prominence of character. It is, in fact, juxtaposition that rules. Nothing is placed next to another in the way that you would expect but each element is very carefully next to another by a fineness of design that arrests the mind and stimulates the imagination.

In his insistent attack on the ramparts of what we laughingly call reality Brijbasi reuses the name Martin. Martin at his first appearance was the artist reluctant to paint the laughing woman. In a reappearance of the name if not the person he is an office worker. Each fragment of Brijbasi's reality has the pregnant lack of connection that we find in dreams. He is able to assemble the dream states in evocative and poetic ways that give a wry twist to the human condition. With the exception of James Joyce in Finnegans Wake no writer has met the demands of the dream head on but Brijbasi uses the material with skill. His work escapes the linearity of our sublunar thought. In a brilliant move the Martin of two stories becomes Martin Martin in a third. One begins to suspect that all the men of the book are Martins. There is, further, a shifting constellation of Martin, Juliet and Maria from story to story.

Although there is little that can be called characteristic, this quotation may give a hint of the flavor of Brijbasi's writing. In this passage a small boy looks for comfort to his grandfather.

The old man replied in high-pitched, confused utterances, and a few nods of the head. His memory was failing him, perhaps had already failed him, and he couldn't even remember pat answers such as "forget it, everything's going to be fine." He just kept nodding his head, and letting out high-pitched words followed by his laugh. His laugh seemed to shuffle in and out of his mouth, as if it too needed the help of a cane.

This is a self-published book and is likely to pass into obscurity with great rapidity. Such misfortunes are frequent and deplorable. An author like Brijbasi with very special gifts may be more subject than most to the neglect of the marketplace. But a more entertaining or evocative book I have not read in a very long time and I would be eager to read more of this poet of the absurd and the unnoticed.

About the Reviewer: Bob Williams is retired and lives in a small town with his wife, dogs and a cat. He has been collecting books all his life, and has done freelance writing, mostly on classical music. His principal interests are James Joyce, Jane Austen and Homer. His writings, two books and a number of short articles on Joyce, can be accessed at:

Reviewed by Lisa Ann 1/5/2003
Serious, lighthearted, fun and witty are words to describe this outrageous book. An eclectic mixture of many ingredients makes this a must read.

A new writer, Sean Brijbasi, with his book 'One Note Symphonies,' is on the literary scene. Check him out..
Reviewed by J. Cornwell, the Rose & Thorn Literary Magazine 9/4/2002
"Like a musician borrowing simple folk songs to create an orchestral opus, Sean Brijbasi weaves a melody of eroticism and life with a recurring cast of characters and situations snatched from moments that resonate with the reader. Each vignette, caught in moments of truth and lies, offers a glimpse of more complex issues pared down to their basic visceral elements.

Each seemingly unconnected episode mirrors life at its wildest and most confusing, but there remains a glimmer of familiarity. From thought to action to emotion and back again, Brijbasi ensnares us in reality and fantasy and returns us with a deft poetic hand rich in living language.

Martin, Mylene, Sabina and Madeline share their strength and confusion, understanding and chaos like orchestrated discordant sound against ethereal melody. To the untrained and untutored mind this is a vision of the universe gone mad. With Brijbasi's guidance we begin to make sense of the melange of sights, sounds, and flavors of passion and pain. Although sometimes a bit heavy-handed and given to flights of surrealism, there is gold enough among the dusty bits of life and love to make the search worthwhile."
Reviewed by Prof. Judith Paterson, award-winning author, Sweet Mystery: A Book of Remembering 4/17/2002
Sean Brijbasi is a fresh new voice on the fiction scene. His first novel, "One Note Symphonies" brings a series of linked stories powerfully to bear on character, place, and all the big themes. He is clearly a writer to be watched and waited for. As he says, "the truth and beauty of things only show themselves in moments."
Reviewed by Richard Peabody, editor Gargoyle Magazine 1/23/2002
If you put Robert Antoni, Maurice Blanchot, Lydia Davis, Joyce Mansour, and
Malcolm de Chazal in a blender and set it on puree, the results would be
similar to Sean Brijbasi's promising debut. I found it easy to lose myself
in his rapid-fire prose poemy shards, only to emerge unscathed on a bicycle
built by Flann O'Brien somewhere on the pages of Carole Maso's "AVA."
Brijbasi could very well become the sleek new way to travel.
-- Richard Peabody, Gargoyle Magazine
Reviewed by Renee Blankenship 1/10/2002
Whoa! Way cool! Freaky! Sexy. Very fun. I read this over and over again and it's a new work every time (might be psychosis). Makes you think. Loved the style. Read it! Read it! Read it!!!!!
Reviewed by joshua davis 1/6/2002
It's really f***ing good. Really. Written from an unseated madness--full of motion and odd images--the way it feels on the inside when things get wild.
Reviewed by Sean Brijbasi 1/3/2002
From an Review - All reviews can be read on ...

Strangely Beautiful, December 28, 2001

Reviewer: uporeddy from Washington DC

This collection of short stories by Sean Brijbasi has a startling quality about them. They are lucid, insightful, and strangely beautiful. Brijbasi's One Note Symphonies is a group of stories somehow connected to each other by some kind of magical sleight of hand by the author. I started reading, and kept reading until I finished the entire book in one sitting. This is a great book! I'm going to read it again. I've already recommended it to some friends, so I would definitely recommend it to whoever is reading this review.
Reviewed by Sean Brijbasi 12/6/2001
From an Review by Tami Robichau

"I loved this book. Sean Brijbasi brings a fresh new approach to erotic adventures in short, yet powerful excerpts from a man's day to day life. Martin is a man that has a deep understanding of the male psyche and although his adventures are a little on the fantasy side, they are erotic and mysterious. The book creates an erotic, sultry atmosphere and we can all use a little of that in our lives. Great book. It's a book that can be read over and over and learn something new each read. I loved it."
Reviewed by Valerie F. de Daulles 11/28/2001
Brilliant writing...for a naughty boy.
Reviewed by Allison Alexander 9/15/2001
I love your style! Well written, witty, and somewhat dark! We should do coffee.
Reviewed by Sean Brijbasi 7/19/2001
As reviewed by reviewer Andy Staff

I read 'Griffin and Sabine' and thought what an interesting concept. With 'One Note Symphonies', it's not about a concept, it's a journey that you get to take through someone else's life. Their thoughts, emotions, and actions are what you are given. As if on a train, you follow the track that this writer has lain before you. The book is written in snippets that seem at first unrelated. After some time, they connect together giving a greater connection to the section that you've just read. The snippets allow us to follow the main character through the details of love, life, and relationships through the author's eyes. Truly, it is a mind-opening journey.

It's a great book to read all at once or a piece at a time like a coffee table book. Brijbasi has authored a piece that suspends your disbelief and removes you from the room in which you are reading. When you put it down, you will have to deal with the shock of being back in your own life. This book is something that you must try and I would recommend it as a gift for someone who likes to read and likes to try something new.

Andy Staff Rocket Review
Reviewed by Sean Brijbasi 7/9/2001
As reviewed by Gwen Glazer, editor & book reviewer for the Maryland Gazette. Read below or go to author's website: and click on The Media link (includes photograph).

Taking back the discarded moments

by Gwen Glazer

June 20, 2001

Sean Brijbasi of Silver Spring has published a first collection of stories.

Silver Spring author embraces the displaced

"Discarded moments, unconnected gestures, the quirky little things" -- these are Sean Brijbasi's bread and butter. "The alchemy of things that don't go together is pretty much the most interesting topic there is," he says.

Brijbasi's first collection of stories, "One Note Symphonies," is really a collection of these moments. Innovative and abstract, the stories stand outside the mainstream while retaining a strong sense of place.

"Almost all the stories were written when I was traveling," the Silver Spring author says. "When you're travelling and you don't have a particular routine, you notice things you wouldn't usually see. You're going slow and everything else is going fast."

The 33-year-old author left college to travel. He moved to London until he ran out of money and returned to the D.C. area, where he'd lived since age 5. The settings of his stories reflect his travels to places like Russia, Paris, Denmark and Finland.

For example, the title story is set in Copenhagen; its narrator is a jazz musician. Brijbasi writes, "I will take the twisted brass into the sound myself and anchor it somewhere deep, where its diabolical rendering of my symphony will be muffled forever. Then I will play my h flat symphony on my new trumpet and float safely back onto the ship. Tomorrow I will raise the sun as always, wave to the old man, then walk to Amagertorv."

Brijbasi compiled the stories, written over the course of six or seven years, into binders intended only for his friends and family. But he stumbled across a Web site advertising iUniverse, an Internet publisher, and began to learn about print-on-demand, or POD, publishing. At its most basic level, an author pays a POD publisher a small fee and the publisher prints books when they're ordered, without stocking extra copies in warehouses.

"It gets your foot in the door," Brijbasi says. "POD just offered me an avenue to get published I wouldn't have had otherwise."

The number of lucky new authors picked up by big-name publishers continues to dwindle as the major houses consolidate and publishing costs spike, increasing the risk of signing unproven authors. Many authors are turning to publishing alternatives like self-publishing and POD in greater numbers.

One of the challenges of POD, Brijbasi says, is that the publishers don't offer traditional marketing services. Things like book signings and publicity (not to mention cash advances) are up to the individual authors.

"I'm not crazy about the marketing aspect, although I do like that you meet a lot of cool people," Brijbasi says. "But I don't like feeling like I'm selling myself.

"A big part of POD is getting past people's misconceptions about what it means to have a book that isn't published in a way they're used to. There's still this perception that POD is junk, but it's starting to gain some credibility -- and big publishers publish a lot of junk, too," he laughs.

So will Brijbasi's next project, a novel, be POD?

"I'm going to look into some small presses this time, but I'll probably do it POD. Sometimes I just want to write, and sometimes I do want to sell it -- but really, writing is just for yourself. It's that prospect of discovery, of self-discovery, that gets you out of bed."

Sean Brijbasi will be speaking and signing copies of "One Note Symphonies" at Barnes & Noble in Bethesda in August. Copies of the book may be purchased online at, or

Reviewed by Sean Brijbasi 7/1/2001
As reviewed by Graham Hamer, author of Paperchase
A Lesson in Style
"A series of seemingly disconnected montages lead the reader through the thoughts and emotions of others. Sean Brijbasi strikes powerfully through his fine use of the language into other peoples' lives, like slicing through melted butter. Yet what appears to be a disconnected series of snippets melds together to form a homogenous picture - a bit like a jigsaw that has no meaning until all the pieces are matched together.

There's more than a hint of the poetic in Brijbasi's writing, and lovers of the language will love this book for what it is - a deep insight into the minds of others, written in a way that will make you laugh, make you cry, and, most of all, make you enjoy the power of the author's pen."

Graham Hamer
Reviewed by Emma Andersson 5/27/2001
I thought One Note Symphonies was interesting, intriguing, profound, and poetic. I enjoyed reading this book and I recommend it to anyone.
Reviewed by Jenna James 5/24/2001
I thought this was a very funny book, in an odd way. Very witty, very well written. The stories come at you from different directions. Very unique and unusual. The writing style is very sly. The stories are just great to read. Highly recommended.

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