Sunday, March 20, 2011

We're in Love With the Living and the Dead

This week in Indie Literature:
Fiction Reviews from Daniel and Micah.
Black Heron Press has always been one of our favorites, and their latest release, a posthumous novel by Frederick Kohner is nothing short of magnificent.
$16.00  Available from Black Heron Press, Midpoint Trade books, Ingram, Baker & Taylor and Most Other Wholesalers.  However, the publisher would prefer you purchase Early Pleasures from your local Independent Bookstore.

Written in the early 1970’s, Kohner’s Early Pleasures was discovered only after his death. This first, posthumous edition released by Black Heron Press marks yet another reason to hail the indie publishing world as the foundation of modern literature.  Kohner’s fictionalized account of his adolescent sexual adventures in Austria and Paris in the early years following World War I comes across as an absorbing, beautiful and tender journey through the human condition. Flashes of Proustian recollections, complimented by a subtle, yet poetic elegance make Early Pleasures not only an important work, but a necessary chronicling of Peacetime Europe, as seen through the eyes of a brilliant and reclusive young poet.

From the frustrations of unrequited love, to the suicidal tendencies of the desperate and lovelorn, Kohner’s glimpse into the wine of youth lacks nothing.  I’ve read Early Pleasures, and I am reading it again, as this magnificent piece of literature has the potential to mean as much to my generation as it may have to Kohner’s had it been published thirty of forty years earlier.

—Daniel Kine, Author of Between Nowhere and Happiness  

The Drunken Tourist, by Chris Santana
Victor Press, 2010

What Chris Santana has accomplished with The Drunken Tourist is no more or less than what he set out to do.  He’s delivered exactly what this book’s title promises: an off-the-chart tour guide, which just so happens to be an adventure story.  Yet, the real feat here is that Santana has managed to write a book that is as useful as it is entertaining.  Perhaps this has been done before, although I’ve never come across such a thing myself. 

Meticulous, inimitable maps alongside brilliantly detailed accounts of landmarks and debauchery, The Drunken Tourist paints an Americanized portrait of the down-and-out wayfarer drinking and smoking his way through Europe’s tourist scene by day, and subculture by night.  A nonfiction report of a lost soul staggering in-and-out of vices and museums, Santana has produced a work that wavers the line between a Lonely Planet Guidebook and George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London. 

Had this book been written earlier in his career, one might be inclined to label it as a coming-of-age memoir; however, it should suffice to settle on deeming The Drunken Tourist a coming-of-consciousness tale of forewarning and reconciliation. 
                                                 —Micah Loosen, Indie Literature Now

Be sure to keep your eye on us for upcoming reviews, interviews and other nonsense.  Also, mark your calendars for April 1st, as Lidia Yuknavitch’s critically acclaimed memoir is set to be released by Hawthorne Books, which we here at Indie Literature Now will be celebrating with our Author-on-Author interview between Mrs. Yuknavitch and Daniel Kine.


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