Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Read Maze of Blood -- "a beautiful and important book."

This is my review of Maze of Blood, by Marly Youmans.  It is such a good book.  Have a look.

By Marly Youmans
(Macon, Georgia, 2015, Mercer University Press.)

MAZE OF BLOOD, by Marly Youmans, is a book to be savored.  It is a book that digs deep, with every word of the spare and exquisite prose carrying level upon level of meaning.  It is a book that encourages, even requires, both thought and feeling in every line.  Though it will capture the reader immediately and never let go, it’s not a book to be taken lightly.  MAZE OF BLOOD is a book to read over and over again.

As she did in GLIMMERGLASS, Youmans twists time and space to explore the juncture of creativity between the material world and the spiritual.  This is the interface Youmans returns to here, revealing the very essence of creativity through the story of one man’s all too brief life.

Conall Weaver, the protagonist, fights to escape the physical and emotional confines of his life in a small Texas town.  He writes fiction and fantasy, leading a life of the mind that nobody else understands or respects, even though he earns a decent living at it.  Sere, hot, flat and empty, Texas itself becomes a metaphor for the human condition, something that constrains and torments the creative soul.

Youmans draws the reader into the tension between the restrictions of the physical environment and the spiritual yearnings of the mind and heart.  The reader is left to determine if the creative spark needs both to catch fire.

This is a beautiful and important book.  Clive Hicks-Jenkins’ illustrations show the essential whimsy and joy that permeate Youmans’ universe even in the midst of human turmoil.

Marly Youmans and I are of course vaguely related.  We’re first cousins generations removed by 500 years and 3000 miles, and have never met IRL.  I’d like to.  Her work is splendid.

Claire Youmans
Author of The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy and The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy, Book Two: Chasing Dreams (American I Publishing, Big Bear Lake, CA; 2014 and 2015 respectively) both available on Amazon and everywhere else.

American I Publishing
PO Box 576
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
(760) 362-2173/ (760) 820-2212

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