It turns out that when an Ultimate Virus/Cold takes you off line for two weeks (or more), it takes quite a while to get back into a normal flow. Things back up, you know? It’s no fun. And then your significant other gets it and that takes time, and, well, those are my excuses, and I’m sticking to them.
Sorry about that.
With any luck, you’ll see traffic pick up here again. 🙂
On the positive side, I have several things to chat about now, so I’ll start with the most recent and we’ll see where it goes from there. I recently grabbed a copy of Stephen Leigh’s “The Woods.” It received a glowing review from David B. Coe, and I figured that since I haven’t met two better folks than either Stephen or David, this was story I needed to read. I felt so strongly about this, I put aside my mega-reading of “The Count of Monte Cristo” to make it happen.
Bottom line–it was worth setting that classic aside.
The story centers on a pair of late teen-aged boys who are entering new phases of their lives. It’s told in a frame that makes the base story a flashback into the protagonist’s memory.
I can see why traditional publishers may have had problems with the story. It’s a bit hard to classify. Stephen seems to consider it Dark Fantasy, which is probably fair, but you could classify it as YA, too. But then, it’s YA like Stephen King’s work about kids is YA, so maybe this is horror, except, well, it’s clearly not horror. I can also see bits of fable in here, and the writing is in the same area code as Charles DeLint. So, what is it? I dunno. All I can say for sure is that (1) it’s a good read, (2) it’s a fast read [thank you Powers That Be, for giving us back the “short” novel], (3) it’s a story that deals with powerful issues and makes you think and rethink about things in your own life. It pulls no punches in examining those issues and the ramifications of decisions we make around them.
In other words, it’s a damned fine piece of work.
As a writer, I will suggest that (as with pretty much every story) I found an item or two that left me thinking I would have done things a bit differently. They don’t detract from the work as a whole, but I mention that because if you read the work based on this review, you might feel those, too. I don’t know. When I mention these kinds of things to Lisa about books we’ve both read, she just kind of shrugs and looks at me like I’m silly. Bottom line for me: “The Woods” is a piece of art. I recommend it.
Ron’s Open Door Policy Commentary: I need to note here that I know Stephen Leigh, and we have a friendly “convention acquaintance.” That said, he didn’t know I was reading this work, and I have nothing to gain from posting this commentary. If I didn’t like the work, I could just have left it set and no one would have been the worse for the experience.