Thursday, August 8, 2013

Others of my Kind by James Sallis A Shadow Review

Let me start out by saying that I think James Sallis is one of Americas finest writers.  In his last few efforts he has achieved both popular success with the book and film, "Drive" and critical success with the "Turner Trilogy" and last years "Driven" and "The Killer is Dying".  His new novel, which will be published in early September, is a stunning work of art.  It is short, powerful and deeply affecting.  I found it both hard to read, horrifying and beautiful all at the same time.  The book takes place in the near future and mirrors the political problems of our own present day.  Jenny Rowan, who tells us her story, is a survivor of a terrible kidnapping and a ruined childhood.  She has survived and now works at a TV station where she constructs both a life and news stories from film fragments as an editor. Through her eyes and the genius of Mr. Sallis we are shown a deeply humanitarian path towards a resurrection of her life and a glimpse of what America can be.  The book is  both a crime story, a political precis and a magnificently realized journey to the heart of what we can become as a people if we want to.
While the book is lean in pages, it has a power that is perfect in its execution.  The language is both simple and yet rich in its imagery and metaphor.  With each new book James Sallis reaches ever higher into the pantheon of pure writing.  The beauty and empathy that he radiates in his prose is breathtaking.  His melding of humans and nature allow the reader to feel a wholeness with the world we live in that is rarely found in modern literature.  I cannot praise this gem of a novel enough and hope that all who read this review avail themselves of a chance to experience something unique.
Jim Sallis will be at the Poisoned Pen, along with his band, Three Legged Dog, on September 13th.  Come and meet one of the great men of American letters.  He can also, "play that guitar just like ringin' a bell."

reviewed by: Steve Shadow Schwartz

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