Further Reading: The Murky Realm

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PILTDOWNLAD #7: The Murky Realm

“The Murky Realm” is a biographical sketch of a tragic union with some creative engineering…

My parents never should have gotten married. But even though my father was gay and my mother was chemically imbalanced, this was the 60s, when single men in their forties did not identify as queer and people with personality disorders were rarely diagnosed, much less treated. And marriage was inexorable. The tragedy, of course, is that, besides ruining their own lives, five children came out of this unhappy coupling. But that’s not the point of this story. That comes later. “The Murky Realm” is about how these two people got together, fell apart, came back together, then fell apart again only to get back together again…

I pieced the facts together from what we were told growing up, what I remember from talking to my parents as an adult before dementia set in. I used my imagination for the rest, after walking many miles in both their shoes.

The text is typewritten on my Olympia Manual.

Ordering information here.

Review from BookSpin

BookSpin reviews A Masque of Infamy:

When I was asked to participate in the book tour for this novel, my inclination was to politely decline. I explained to the delightful lady who asked for my participation that I primarily read nonfiction and didn’t normally make time for fiction.

The few times I do dip my foot into the fiction pool is when the plot is unique or in some way appealing to me by piquing my curiosity. I re-read the synopsis of A Masque of Infamy and, for whatever reason, the curiosity factor kicked in.

Read the rest of the review here.

Review from Shannon’s Book Bag

Shannon’s Book Bag reviews A Masque of Infamy:

This was a surprisingly good book. Billed as autobiographical novel, it reads extremely entertaining. Louis is a very believable hard-assed, yet naive teenage boy struggling with a crappy family situation. Dad is a pervert, Mom is a basket-case, and “family friend” Rick is a nut-case.  Louis does what he feels will produce the best situation for himself (and in turn his little brother), but also feels guilt at not being able to change the situation and confusion as to how to deal with things that have happened to him in the past. Despite being a bit of a self-centered shit, you can’t help but feel for him being stuck in his crazy life.

She didn’t like the ending, however, and like several other reviewers, found it frustrating.

But after buying into this kid’s life, the writer leaves you high and dry with no resolution to any of the situations – and not in a “sequel will be coming soon” sort of way. He just up and leaves…and you are left to wonder, “Seriously, that’s it?!” Frustrating, at least to me.

A common response to the novel has been that it ends abruptly and there is no tidy conclusion, no sense of what the future will hold for Louis or his brother. Because I tried to make the novel as close to the real experience as I could, within the limits of memory and the constraints of narrative, A Masque of Infamy is a story about real life, and real life is almost always messy. At one point, I contemplated writing a fictional ending that would tie it all together, but it just didn’t seem genuine. And as much as this is billed as a “novel,” I only changed names to protect my family, and because I used a lot of dialogue to tell the story, I couldn’t in good conscious call it a memoir. But it is a true story. This is how it happened.

A Southern Girl – An Excerpt

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Since Casey seemed to know everybody at Saks High, I figured he could give me the lowdown on this girl Missy before I called her that evening.

“Missy Walker? Oh, she’s a slut,” he told me while we hung out in my backyard listening to Dead Milkmen on his boombox.

“But she’s only, like, what, fourteen?” I asked. “How could she be a slut already?”

“Hey, that’s just what they say. She’s easy. Been around the block. Known to go where most girls never dare.”

I looked at him dubiously.

“I don’t know from personal experience or anything. But this guy Mark Shelby said he did it with her.”

“One guy and she’s a slut?”

“Yeah, but then, the next week she made out with Gary Durham in the parking lot of the skating rink.”

“So she’s been around the block.” I tried to play it off. “Who hasn’t? In LA, this stuff is no big deal.”

“I don’t know how they do things in LA, but, in Alabama, if a girl gives it up wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, she’s a slut.” Casey flipped the tape over and hit play. “Still, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for it. Missy’s got great tits.” He flashed a lascivious smile and sang along to the tape: “My girl has a pet duck, and my girl is a heck of a fuuuuuu-riend.”

(read the rest of “A Southern Girl,” here.)

Review from The Relentless Reader

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The Relentless Reader reviews A Masque of Infamy:

The night I finished this book I had a dream that I was a patient in a psychiatric hospital. I can’t remember the last time a book seeped into my sleep. That says a lot about the affect this novel had on me.

Horrible things happen to Louis and his younger brother. Things that made me angry and squeamish. The way these boys view the abuse raining down on them was unsettling. There was a casual acceptance in their attitude. As I read further I realized that denial was a tactic they used to stay sane.

The ending proved problematic though:

I wasn’t happy with the ambiguous ending of this book. I wanted to know what happened to this family. I didn’t expect a happy ending exactly, but I did hope for more.

This is my current statement regarding the ending of the book.

Review from the Avid Reader

An unfavorable, but  somewhat disconnected, review of A Masque of Infamy from The Avid Reader blog.

I thought this book was an ok read. it was horrible but it wasnt great. Louis was the character who I liked the most in this book . The thing for me with this book is a didnt like the writting style. The plot of the book was good too, it was different and refreshing which I always love reading books that I dont read all the time. I also love the cover too, I think its very cool! I would recommend this book because I think there are people out there who would like it, mind you its not for everyone but its worth a read or a look.

A Microblog for the Book

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So I got to thinking, I should do a blog for the book, you know, with images of metalheads and punks and scenes from 80s movies and TV that inspired my while I was writing, along with excerpts from the book and a slight promo edge… Then I thought, what if my sixteen year old self were to do a tumblr… in 1987… What would that be like. Well, this is the result so far.