Wednesday, March 2, 2016

I’m reviewing my own books. I believe they’re worthy efforts. Worthy of what? Readers. Like every writer who’s serious about their work, I want to be read.
Due to my bias, I cannot praise them further than I have. But I can give an idea of what they’re about and the approach I took in depicting people and situations.
I don’t write great books, nor am I profound; I want to entertain, and in doing so to make a point. My prose isn’t innovative or dazzling; instead, I try for a reader-friendly simplicity. I won’t confuse you with obscurity of any kind; that said, I often inject ambiguity because, as a reader, I find that quality to be intriguing. I won’t pander, nor will I give you formulaic fiction.

Driving Through the Night – Phillip Routh
Into the lives of Jeanette, Paul, Nancy and Angelo comes an entity named Robert. Robert serves as a catalyst; he possesses exceptional qualities that are exploited by others. Though what a character seeks is achieved, it comes with some form of destruction (it’s at this point that Robert is shipped off to another person). This is an off-kilter book; besides an odd premise and the grotesque (even slightly comic-bookish) events, there’s a grimness intertwined with humor. Though I worked to make these disparate elements coalesce, I realize that some readers will balk; I can only hope that others will go with the flow. At the core of Driving are psychological studies of four flawed people. They were real to me. The novel was written in 1986; I put the manuscript in a box, where it remained for over twenty years. But I sometimes imagined that I could hear faint voices, insisting that they be released to tell their stories. *

The Camellia City – Phillip Routh
A comic novel about the writing life. Morgan Baines had a big success with his first novel; but that was long ago, and since then it’s been all downhill. He has become disgruntled and cynical. In the first chapter he’s on a plane headed for a writer’s conference in Louisiana where he’s due to give a workshop. His ulterior motive is to meet a famous author who will also be attending; he has a plan to get the Great Man’s help in reviving his sagging career. But the journey he’s on takes him in a wholly different direction. Although some chapters are largely devoted to literary matters, they’re alternated with chapters that have nothing to do with writing. I don’t consider this book to be restricted in its readership; that’s because we’re in Morgan’s mind, and what he thinks and feels is relatable to us all. Ambition can be like blinders on a horse. Morgan has the blinders removed forcibly, and he discovers a world beyond that of words on a page. *

A Baker’s Dozen – Phillip Routh
The thirteen stories in Baker’s Dozen have only one aspect in common: they reflect my abiding interest in human nature. If my main characters were brought together in a lineup, they’d present a wildly disparate group. As for tone, the stories range from gritty realism to the fantastical. Often a mystery arises (and, in every case, is solved). Some stories are more ambitious than others, though in all I try to leave the reader with a thought or feeling to mull over. But there’s no need for me to say more, because you can read a synopsis of the plot of each story along with an excerpt. If you decide to give one a try, you can access it with a click. You can then read it off the screen or print it out. Maybe you’ll be moved to read more of my work. *

At Words Without Songs you can access the stories and The Camellia City (Driving is going through a final revision).

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