The Painter by Luccini Shurod

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An intimate story that bears a reflection of Luccini Shurod’s life and the beloved experience of falling in love for the very first time.

“Now drawing four fingers up the sides of her stomach, my hands create a kind of invisible wave that sounds beneath her skin. Molding her torso every which way as if it were clay for me to experiment, I study the lines of her iridescent form flowing in a rhythmic beauty that fascinates me into this fixation. My finger circles around the rim of her belly button as if to enjoy the sounds that might come from a crystal glass. Her every touch absorbs my ability to discern thought as I become rested in this feeling of absolute ecstasy. Life without her I know would indefinitely destroy me, having already solemnly delivered my spirit to this angel that comes down to be with me.”

Recognized as a child prodigy Shurod’s ability to draw and paint garnered much attention and recognition. His childhood somewhat unconventional yet he was immersed in love and possessed the ability to love fiercely.

As he enters adulthood he encounters love with Nadia. Destined for turbulent times, this forbidden love failed to prevent Shurod from shying away. Shurod dives in and casts hesitation, cultural differences and vulnerability to the wind and gives his mind, heart, body and soul to Nadia.

Shurod’s prose is lyrical and affecting. His love, passion and deepest feelings seep from the pages. His emotions bared as he reveals his nakedness, his heart hemorrhages intensity, elation and the depths of despair.

Shurod in true artist form begins his story with blank pages, draws the outline and magnificently adds colors to create a masterpiece with love as his paintbrush.

Elegantly written as a sensitive and capable man tells the story of his first love as he enters the beautiful and brutal labyrinth of love. A man allowing his emotions to be unleashed as he candidly shares his intimate story with unbridled fervor.

As a reader there is nothing more affecting than hearing a man share his love story through his voice without fear, his heart open, this is exactly what Shurod crafts in The Painter. With an artist guiding the writing implement you know you are in for quite a story, blatant as the story unravels with the turn of every page. A love story indeed, Shurod’s artist soul is apparent as you read his passionate story.


Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 18th 2014 by Luccini Shurod
ISBN13: 9780692298084

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An American Bride in Kabul

An American Bride in Kabul17378026
Phyllis Chesler

Recommendation: 4/5


My Thoughts
An American Bride in Kabul is the story of how a naïve American girl learned to see the world through eastern as well as western eyes and came to appreciate Enlightenment values. This dramatic tale re-creates a time gone by, a place that is no more, and shares the way in which Chesler turned adversity into a passion for world-wide social, educational, and political reform.

Chesler shares her personal story of her failed first marriage to her Afghan college sweetheart in 1961. She delves into the tormented history of Afghanistan, discusses assaults against Muslim subjects and the Western world. The ongoing challenges and fearlessness of Afghan woman’s rights.

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Chester’s personal story is fascinating, given the time period this occurred it shows not much has improved for Afghanistan and Afghan women. The book covers more history and issues of Afghanistan and women than Chesler’s own story. Informative and educational. A leader in feminism, I found Chesler’s story intriguing. I have no doubt her experience only fueled her quest for women’s rights. Excellent account on all levels, especially hearing Chesler’s thoughts at such an early age when this independent woman was a chrysalis not yet in full bloom.

Horseman, Pass By by Larry McMurtry

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Horseman, Pass By  
Larry McMurtry

 

Recommendation: 5/5


My Thoughts
Horseman, Pass By tells the story of Homer Bannon, an old-time cattleman who epitomizes the frontier values of honesty and decency, and Hud, his unscrupulous stepson. Caught in the middle is the narrator, Homer’s young grandson Lonnie, who is as much drawn to his grandfather’s strength of character as he is to Hud’s hedonism and materialism.

I was immediately swept away by McMurtry’s eloquent writing. His style is so mesmerizing, seductive and fluid. The reader is drawn into this story from the onset, devouring every page with a thirst for more. I felt the sweltering heat of Texas, the dirt gritty on my skin, yes, his writing is that detailed.

The characters represent the past, present and future, as well as a scapegoat for one despicable man’s anger and hate. I have never in my life loathed a character as much as I loathed Hud. Hud is devious, brutal, a rapist and a thief. He is the devil incarnate, the ugly blemish in this poignant story. Hud is determined, determined to take whatever he can take. Hud’s contrast character is Lonnie, all around great kid craving excitement. Caught between boyhood and one step away from manhood. Short on years but experiencing more than any 17 year old should. McMurtry’s characterization couldn’t be improved upon, he gives us his characters naked, raw, exposed completely to the reader.

Horseman, Pass By is more than a intricate coming of age story, it also tells of no challenge is too great, you just keep going. It is also about change – the times are evolving, move forward.

“All of them wanted more and seemed to end up with less; they wanted excitement and ended up stomped by a bull or smashed against a highway; or they wanted a girl to court, and anyway, whatever it was they wanted, that was what they ended up doing without.”

Horseman, Pass By is disturbing, alluring and unforgettable. McMurtry wrote this novella over 50 years ago, a prelude to his incredible writing talent and illustrious career. A timeless classic in every way, a must read.

Review: Agostino by Alberto Moravia

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Agostino
Alberto Moravia
NYRB Classics July 8, 2014
Pages 128
ISBN13: 9781590177235
A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads  •  Amazon  •  Indiebound  •  Powell’s Books

Recommendation: 3/5

From NYRB
Thirteen-year-old Agostino is spending the summer at a Tuscan seaside resort with his beautiful widowed mother who takes up with a new companion. Agostino, feeling ignored and unloved, begins hanging around with a group of local young toughs, unable to make sense of his troubled feelings.

My Thoughts
Moravia addresses sexuality through the eyes of a thirteen year old young man burgeoning adolescence facing a summer of angst and turmoil. Realizing his mother is also a woman in every sense of the word and meaning, he finds his sexual attraction to her torturous and somewhat confusing. Innocent, uninformed this youth crosses paths with a group of street urchins and learns a worldly, unsavory side of life along with behavior he never knew existed.

Agostino wrestles with the changes and thoughts he is feeling, the sensual stirrings and jealousy towards his mother and her young beau. Desperately trying to squash his overbearing desire for his mother, we ride the wave of emotions puberty’s ugly head arouses along with its awkwardness.

Agostino’s mother’s self-absorption along with her amorous young suitor causes her to ignore the fact her boy is on the precipice of manhood. You have a clear sense she is unware of her son’s recent blatant behavior changes and attitude towards her bur rather she’s in tune with her own sexuality inducing blindness to her sons blossoming curiosity. A frustrating, bold and provocative read, very interesting perspective of sexuality through the eyes of a thirteen year old male.

Moravia brilliantly explores the relationship between a single woman and her teenage son as he embarks on his journey into manhood with little knowledge and even less guidance. Insightful piece of literature as well as heavy subject matter introduced.

“But the intensity of his filial vanity and the turmoil of his infatuation would linger with him for many years to come.”