Mini Reviews (A Few Summer Reads) (Reviewed by Patrick Trotti)

Variations on the Sun
by M Kitchell
http://redlightbulbs.net/lovesymbol/index.html

The first release from Love Symbol Press, the book publishing imprint of lit journal Red lightbulbs, Variations on the Sun by M Kicthell is a sparse and intense offering. Checking in at under 100 pages what the book lacks in length it sure makes up for in intelligence, vision, and voice. The author paces himself with fifty separately numbered vignettes, accompanied by photos. The short offerings are packed full of visceral imagery and elaborate wordplay showcasing the author’s adept ability to fuse fiction with experimentation. This is a book that many will like, no doubt. This is a book that more should read than will and most of all, this is a beautiful book that will give pleasure to all that love the music of language. Variations on the Sun is an example of an upcoming writer finding himself, making himself vulnerable, and shedding many pretenses that modern fiction has become bogged down in lately.

Daniel Fights A Hurricane
by Shane Jones
http://www.danielfightsahurricane.com/

Jones’ second full length novel, and third overall, is full of the same playful delight and wonderful imagination that saw his previous book, Light Boxes, gain popularity. What really struck me about Jones’ newest work was how he managed to maintain a delicate balance between the wildly inventive, and often hilarious and the serious, heartfelt pulse that lies beneath the surface of this tale. This mix is never forced, rather it forms organically as the story progresses. Before you know it you’re knee deep in a make believe world that is all too human. Quite simply, if you liked Light Boxes, you’re sure to enjoy this book. Jones is another example of a young writer who is catching his stride, perfecting his craft before our eyes, and expanding his limits and boundaries with every new book.

A Million Heavens
by John Brandon
https://store.mcsweeneys.net/products/a-million-heavens

Brandon’s third novel shows the author flexing his muscles a bit, stretching out and showing off his burgeoning new talent in new and interesting ways. Juggling a bunch of different characters, Brandon shines light on all of them, exposing their strengths and weaknesses, without losing the heartbeat of the bigger story. Using the remoteness of New Mexico as it’s setting, A Million Heavens is Brandon’s most optimistic book yet but doesn’t completely release itself from the brooding, unflinching look at the darker aspects of humanity that were ever present in his earlier fiction. Like the other two books featured, Brandon is a young writer that is, right before our eyes, expanding what he can do with each successive book.

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