Author: Michel Louyot, trans. Catherine Cauvin-Higgins
Publisher: Leaky Boots Press, www.leakyboot.com
Copyright: 2014, ISBN: 1909849105
Cover: Yu Jing
reviewed by: Lynard Barnes, October 9, 2014
Summary: Fictionalized stream of thought from Soviet spy Vladimir Ippolitovich Vetrov on the last night of his life in a cell in the company of a cockroach.
This short book (one-hundred and six pages) sort of leaves you stunned. Into the first couple of pages you start asking yourself why you are reading it. Before you know it, you are done. An experience that qualifies as an event. The stun element arises from a bit of literary artfulness that is flawlessly executed.
There is a category of fiction I call allegorical philosophizing. In reading THE SNOW VIOLIN, for reasons subjective, Albert Camus’ THE PLAGUE comes to mind. This book also evokes a whole list of real existentialist philosophers from Kierkegaard to Dostoyevsky—especially Dostoyevsky and his CRIME AND PUNISHMENT. THE SNOW VIOLIN is not existentialist in outlook. Instead, it is intended as a peek at the realism of an intelligent man faced with the consequences of acts he committed leading to his imprisonment and pending execution.
Author: Frank Joseph
Publisher: Bear & Company, One Park Street, Rochester, Vermont, www.BearandCompanyBooks.com
Copyright: 2010, ISBN: 1591431077
Cover: Peri Swan, Corbis Images and Superstock
Reviewed by: Lynard Barnes, October 7, 2014
Summary: Before Columbus discovered the American continent, there was the American continent filled with some rather extraordinary civilizations. Joseph takes us through the facts and adds some informed speculation that discreetly places the extraterrestrial hypothesis of human history in a less than flattering light.
This book would normally be a highly recommended read simply based on its erudite and meticulous detailed content. The problem is that it jumps willy-nilly through two thousand years of American archaeological history. It does this fact-continuous-fact exploration while attempting to advance a couple of speculative themes. That is the negative stuff. The positive stuff is much more.
Frank Joseph says in the introduction to PREHISTORIC AMERICA that he spent his student days at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Unknown to him at the time was an archaeological site called Cahokia. He points out that Cahokia was the largest settlement north of the Rio Grande River before Philadelphia achieved a comparable population some eight hundred years later.
While there were a couple of directions Joseph could have taken this book, he chose to examine the influence of immigrant Keltic populations and migrant established populations. The possible influence of Kelts upon early American civilizations has been recognized for a long time (see http://www.oodegr.com/english/brit_celt_orthodoxy/celts_america.htm ). According to Joseph, the Kelts entered recorded history around 1200 BC. He also makes the very important statement that those who we call the Kelts and Greek Historian Hecataeus of Miletus called “ the Keltoi, after ‘barbarians’ . . . How they referred to themselves in a pan-tribal sense, if they ever did, is not known.” Observations such as this come under the heading of erudite.