Blue Canoe – A Review

Posted: August 15, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

I’ve been putting off this review for almost a month now. Since I finished reading a pre-release copy towards the end of July I’ve pondered what to write, how to describe “Blue Canoe” that could possibly do it justice and still make sense. I thought rereading the HC copy I received might help me a bit, but it didn’t.

I’m not alone. In Tom Piccirilli’s introduction to this masterful tome, even he has problems describing it. To paraphrase Pic, “Blue Canoe” may or may not be about a man named Happy Farmer, who may or may not be dead (though the subtitle, a memoir of the newly non-corporeal may gave a hint). There’s a woman named (or maybe not) Epistobel, who may or may not be real.

There is however a Blue Canoe, which seems real.

Also  real are my reactions to the book. Deeply affecting, filled with ideas and images that keep you thinking long after  the last page is turned. My initial thought was it reminded me of what a Dali painting inhabited with subjects from a Dian Arbus photo would be if it were a book. However, it goes beyond surreal, beyond creepy, and infects your thoughts as very few books manage to do.

T.M. Wright is a master of making complex thoughts using the simplest of language. He weaves a story that is more about the slipperiness of memory than the man trying to regain those memories. In the process he makes you put the book down and think.

Yes, I said think.  In the month that I’ve been ruminating on it, I can’t stop thinking about the damn thing. Bits and pieces return to me from out of nowhere. And as a writer, I feel like the little kid seeing his first magic trick and wondering, “How’d he do that?” In lesser hands “Blue Canoe” would be a pretentious mess, filled with obvious imagery that bellowed with puffed up ego, “Look at me! This is important!” Fortunately, we’re in the hands of a master. Over his almost 50 year career, T.M. Wright has demonstrated time and time again, that no one does it better.

So no, don’t expect a typical novel, you won’t get that. You will get a novel that packs more into its 208 pages than many authors could hope for in a lifetime of writing.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m taking a little trip in a blue canoe and I hope you join me for the ride. I guarantee you, Mr. Wright will make it worth your while.

You can order a copy or two of “Blue Canoe” here:  http://www.pspublishing.co.uk/cat/tbc.asp

Blue Canoe may or may not be about a guy who may or may
not be named Happy Farmer or momnb named Andrew Grimm
who is or maybe isn’t either dead or insane and wiomi surrounded
by ghosts or maybe nurses in a nuthatch or perhaps someone else,
and wiomi being haunted by his ex-girlfriend wiomi named
Epistobel wiomi dead, alive, an amalgam of many girlfriends,
a figment, a hallucination, or a phantasm. There is also a dog
named the-dog-who-would-have-been-Bob-had-he-been-BobBlue Canoe may or may not be about a guy who may or may
not be named Happy Farmer or momnb named Andrew Grimm
who is or maybe isn’t either dead or insane and wiomi surrounded
by ghosts or maybe nurses in a nuthatch or perhaps someone else,
and wiomi being haunted by his ex-girlfriend wiomi named
Epistobel wiomi dead, alive, an amalgam of many girlfriends,
a figment, a hallucination, or a phantasm. There is also a dog
named the-dog-who-would-have-been-Bob-had-he-been-Bob.
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Comments
  1. Excellent review, Scott.

    I couldn’t be more anxious to read this myself. Your review is a portent of a unique reading experience to come.

    With you and me both, obviously, TM’s writing hangs like sweet radiation over the cerebral canopy.

  2. Louise says:

    You’ve made me want to read this, luv, most definitely. I’m hooked by the first paragraph. Questioning memory, questioning the reality of memory, ohhh that’s got my senses tingling. 🙂 I’m off to check out the link to the book. Thank you! Me xox

  3. T.M. Wright says:

    Thanks for a wonderful, on-point review, Scott. It’s a perplexing book, but you about nailed it. Much appreciasted.

    Terry

  4. raingods says:

    Phantom, I truly think you’ll love this one. The same can be said to you Louise, it’s a great read.

    And Terry, very glad you liked the review, and I’m happy I “pretty much nailed it.”