I only have a few--but one of my closest friends with whom I went to college is a writer. Her debut novel, Locke 1928, came out this summer. I had the privilege to read her book long before it was snatched up by an agent. Here's my proud review:
What a way to debut! Locke 1928 is like picked browning of a worthy, juicy scab. Locke, the town, is no longer quiet or meek. This novel has put life back into an otherwise humble region of Chinese history in America. Characters in Locke 1928 are various but juxtapose each other brilliantly so that they are specific, full of intent, and individual! The book is written with such vision and craft: “Richard throws himself on top of her, yanks her head toward him and, not knowing quite what else to do, bites her neck…When he tastes blood, the whirlwind of all the minutes, the blankness of his mind, clears. He releases her. The poison subsides. He moves to the end of the bed, coughing. Everything’s been released in the press of teeth on tendons. A circle of bloody teeth marks starts to bruise on Chloe’s neck” (144). The language goes on with such skill and ease, “Below this, heightened by Poppy’s senses, it’s the smell of the dead stealing from the living—the way a decaying corpse can poison a river or a house” (147). Written in a Morrisonian vein, readers will marvel at the young author’s own stylistic build as there are chapters written in second person, “Under the bed was your suitcase. Made of battered paperboard covered in pig leather, it had lain under every bed you had slept in since your arrival in America” (101). It is beautiful openings like this and closings at each chapter that keep readers lulled by the story and the place. Even the setting in Locke 1928 is its own character. Perhaps the most intriguing female in the story is Ming Wai who is blue, beautiful, a smelly sea-like creature with a motive. Ms. Ryan invents this character with such skill that readers will want to follow her movement to the end…and beyond. More of the best to this young, well deserving, gifted author who is only just beginning. With a book written like Locke 1928, one can only anticipate and imagine what’s up Ms. Ryan’s artistic sleeve for future projects. An entertaining, brilliant read--A job very well done!
If you don't already own this book, you must get it. And be prepared for a little history, a little raunch, gorgeous images, and a great story!
It's May 2012 and nothing has changed since November.11. I am all smiles at my relationship and myself. My honey and I continue to amaze each other on a daily basis. We're still ever so 'in' with each other. I completed my MA in literature last May and I'm teaching four college English courses to really smart students. I am hopeful to enter a doctorate program soon. This way, I can run out.All is scary good.
upon hearing your voice life again expands like moon crest like pomegranates swell to the sun and you are patient because god calls
when he came for you this morning you were bent into the flower bed singing black hymns so he left you alone until this third afternoon but even then he found you elbow deep in jewel weed with a mouthful of figs from a nearby tree again he waited because each time seemed to him an inconvenience and a wrong moment
and it was your persistent humming that drove him up and back until he could get his timing perfect he waited another day or so until
your gardening tools rest into porch corners your paring knife shines deeply into a drawer your hair comb lies slanted in a shoebox your wedding band hides in the mattress your fishing rod stays stolen
the sound of your voice desires to sing or hum but this time is perfect he has covered you like lavender-colored silence but he has also added streaks of olive green and pink because this is what the other soul-folk has told him to do and he has become tired in the process and therefore begins to rush sonances of your body he finds you the least complex when you are not outdoors digging in that garden, humming hymns and thriving and for a moment he questions his own timing its perfection and everything goes accordingly until he finds you have buried fruit peels and wandering jew petals underneath your back this does not anger him but it tilts his agility to deliver you and in his own questioning and presence of smells that he cannot privilege all this over powers his choice all this reels his otherwise perfection into letting you go
when i see you sitting in the plush squares of limitless St. Augustine your eyes are lit like crystal warmed soil releases from each of your hands
how did i get to this point this point of knowing you for you are nearly a century old