By Justin Bog, Senior Editor, In Classic Style
Release Date: May 10, 2012
Justin Bog, Senior Editor here at In Classic Style, has never steered me wrong when it comes to book recommendations. Having met Justin eighteen years ago in Sun Valley, this voracious reader and movie fanatic has been my go-to ever since for recommendations – and for our readers and followers from the inception of In Classic Style. With a knack for offering advice on a diverse list of literary genres, and an MFA in Fiction Writing, it comes as no surprise that Justin Bog has published a collection of short stories.
In Classic Style asked author, Dianne “Dee” Solberg, a fellow book enthusiast, to write a formal recommendation of Justin Bog’s book. Dee is a 9-year USAF veteran, wife, mother, physical therapist assistant and a Google enthusiast. She’s a woman who in order to preserve her sanity, began writing during her US Army spouse’s second deployment. It went from a mild hobby, to an absolute obsession. She frequently hears character voices, dreams stories, and sees humor in all things. Wrong and bent humor are the things she is accused of most often. We hope you enjoy what Dee has to say about Sandcastle and Other Stories
Ten literary, psychological, and suspense tales collected in Sandcastle and Other Stories are nothing short of an adventure through a roiling sea of emotion. Genuine voices of the characters, mixed with a clear-eyed tonal directness, make this a series with mesmerizing psychological interaction. Stories span a broad depth of human understanding and build a bridge between deepest chasms of pain and high portals of joy. Read Sandcastles and Other Stories and stand witness to unspeakable hate sitting with cozy wile, right beside unconditional love — a provocative and compelling mirror on the human condition.
In The Virtue of Minding Your Own Business the author completely captures the New Englander (Maine in particular) flavor of prejudice. I lived in Bangor, ME (yes, a block from Stephen King), and despite the fact I’d lived all over the USA, solely because I came from MO, I was forevermore the MO Mule to everyone. So, the hard-edged toughness of the characters really struck a “rightness” chord. My heart squeezes at the un-forgiveness rampant in the gardener’s family, the town’s folk . . . and the emptiness that develops.
I reacted in such a shocked manner the first time I read Sandcastle. I’ve read it several times since and still feel that way. OY! Such a twist. No one would ever expect what happens, it’s so calm, sedate, seemingly ordinary and reasoned . . . then you read it again, and yet again to be sure you read it right. Quiet, stark, insanity.
Mothers of Twins made me laugh because it captures Mommy rivalry very well. I also like the way the author portrayed Connie as sort of a WTF busybody; someone who just shows up and you’re like WTF? I have had so many folks stop me in the hospital halls and start telling me life’s stories, it’s like I have a “confessional is open” light on my forehead. Loved the Neil Diamond/Barbra Streisand duet “You don’t bring me flowers.”
When the Ship Sinks revels in the love of “doom talk” — and those who look at the world as if it’s going to split in two anyway so why not watch the show.
Poseidon Eyes reveals the Greek fickleness of gods and their mercurial nature perfectly. I still have goosebumps despite finishing it. I’m left to wonder, in a good way, what really is at stake? When will he appear next?
About Cats In Trees: Wow . . . this shortest story in the collection get’s crazy in the finest aspects. It’s the little things, the ones people rarely ever notice in an everyday life.
Hehe, “used to be bigger (in her mind) . . . LOVE! I enjoyed Typecast; I kept expecting him to go a little bit insane like the characters he plays on film, but one by one it’s the folks around him that flake . . .
I kept repeating this as I read Under the Third Story Window: Oh God! I don’t know how else to react, just: oh God . . . oh God, oh God, oh God . . . like watching something you don’t want to, but can’t look away because you’re going to miss something, riveting because it is so visceral, real.
In On the Back Staircase, I truly love the mix of family warmth, good natured ribbing, and disgruntlement seeded throughout the story while alongside this blooms the niggling doubt that the main character, Anna, is dreaming, falling deeper into her overactive adolescent musings (as my own daughter is wont to do at times). Both of my kids are masters of scaring the crap out of themselves with daytime imaginings. Anyway, it is the warmth here that had me on edge, hoping beyond hope that this family is really okay.
Train Crash describes a kid who is at that age; appearance is so definitive of who they feel they are. I love the tired contempt of the attendant woman . . . the yearning of the vagrant to tell his story to the kid, who wants him to want his story. As the story unfolds, I kept waiting for the kid to erupt, he does, but not how I expected . . . really captured the futile anger of the vagrant, who grasps at the “my bench” facade and protects it as a mother protects her brood.
Included at the end of the Sandcastle and Other Stories is the first chapter of Justin Bog’s upcoming novel, Wake Me Up. This is a psychological family drama and the darker stories in his collection prepared me for the shocking opening. So real and raw . . . I’ve been at the wrong end of bullying and while it never got to this level, sometimes I wonder if it was only because I was so much stronger than those who picked on me? I absolutely love the history on Deepika (find the Deepika stories on Justin Bog’s Blog and read them before the novel and you’ll get an added insight into how Deepika operates), the little details like the food that won’t be eaten, his dad with the vodka and Tylenol; all bring a richness to the reality that would otherwise just be unvarnished reality . . . this makes it riveting reality. What a statement: “I won’t be able to sleep until I wake up.” LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE
I highly recommend Sandcastle and Other Stories to everyone who loves good writing. I thank you Carl and In Classic Style for letting me share my opinion on Justin Bog’s new work of fiction.
Buy Sandcastle and Other Stories by clicking HERE.
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