Friday, September 29, 2017

Small revelations

Mud Season

Justin Grimbol


Publisher: Atlatl Press

Pub Date: June 15, 2017

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


I remember reading another novel by Justin Grimbol a few years ago. i remember being impressed by his mastery of words and his deceptively casual style of writing. I also remember not being bowled over by the plot or lack of plot. The book came across as aimless and more than a little a little mundane. Perhaps I couldn't get into a character with no goals and equally goalless friends. So now i sit here having read his new book Mud Season and wondering whether in the past three years did the author mature or did I? I'm going to bet on the fact that perhaps the author, or at least his character, did since I am 66 and probably am not going to mature much more in the years I have left even if I haven't matured all that much anyways. In fact I am placing a moratorium on maturing. No more maturing!

Actually, to be a little more serious, It might be the theme . Mud Season is a novel about a year of marriage. Justin Grimbol's perennial character is named Grimboli. which pretty much says all you need to know about whether there might be a autobiographical tendency. Our perennial character Grimboli has certainly matured. He is now married. Reality has changed for him. Life is an endless cornucopia of experiences and surprises. Mud Season is a series of short chapters, rarely over a page or two and many just one paragraph, that chronicles the narrator and his wife's transition through the seasons of the year. If you are looking for a solid plot, look elsewhere. That is not the author's style. But if you are looking for an examination of life and emotions that exist in our own mundane world then you are in a gold mine. It is those in-the-moment observations that work here. Grimboli's random thoughts become connected in this work in a way that was missing in his previous book and it leads to small revelations for the reader. Grimboli's smind is all over the place but always right there with you leading to paragraphs like this...
Thank heaven for jokes. I love jokes so much. They are better than prayers, really. Better than church, often. Jokes and laughter. Jesus should have turned water into jokes. Not wine.
The characters laugh a lot in this book, especially Grimboli's wife. It is not that the laughter that is communicated so well but rather the narrator's appreciation of it. This is a book about interactions whether it is with his wife or the neighborhood children who annoy him. Our reward is to eavesdrop on his life and enjoy this different perspective.

Mud Season is a fast and easy read. I can see some readers wondering what the point is. However sensation by sensation it comes together. It is mystifying, spontaneous, but overall entertaining. Which leads me to the question, "IS there a point?". This time I think there is and our narrator may have hit upon it...

Grimboli, we are still stuck," He said

"Good point," I said. "But I'm sure we will get out eventually."

"I hope so," He said.

1 comment:


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