This book is considered an historical fiction/coming of age type novel, according to some reviewers reminiscent of Huckleberry Finn and Hamlet and is written in the "grand Southern tradition of storytelling". It takes place mostly in the South (Kentucky) in the 1950's. Not everyone back then was prejudiced-but a lot were. All the characters in this book are poor but rich on spirit! It is written in a Southern dialect throughout which did not seem to bother me-as a matter of fact it made the story line more believable if anything. This is a first novel by this author and I believe he did a marvelous job combining historical fact with fiction to bring us the story of one boy's struggle to cope and understand his life.
About the Book: (from Amazon)
If you wanted to destroy something, why would you want to save it too?
A storm is brewing in the all-but-forgotten back country of Kentucky. And, for young Orbie Ray, the swirling heavens may just have the power to tear open his family's darkest secrets. Nine-year-old Orbie already has his cross to bear. After the sudden death of his father, his mother Ruby has off and married his father's co-worker and friend Victor, a slick-talking man with a snake tattoo. And, when Orbie crosses paths with the black Choctaw preacher, Moses Mashbone, he learns of a power that could expose and defeat his enemies, but can't be used for revenge. When a storm of unusual magnitude descends Orbie stumbles on a solution to the paradox, one both magical and ordinary. Question is, will it be enough?
Violence & Magical Realism
Orbie renders events from a child's vividly fragmented point of view. His growth in understanding and courage - as he confronts first hand the realities of civil rights violations, domestic and child sexual abuse, religious violence and even murder - can be felt throughout the book.
A feeling of otherworldliness permeates the story, and its symbolism is omnipresent and beautifully handled. Realism becomes magical, as nothing is ever precisely what it seems.
Sex Addiction & Abandonment
Orbie's mother, a susceptible woman, quickly remarries, leaving Orbie and his younger sister at the mercy of Victor, who resolves to leave him at his sharecropping grandparent's place, a dirt farm in Kentucky, while the family sets off for Florida.
With no end to his stay in sight, Orbie settles into routines all but unthinkable weeks before. He forms a strong bond with Willis, the stunningly talented, physically disabled black boy and protege to the uncanny shaman, Moses Mashbone.
Boy Meets World
Inevitably, he finds himself drawn into Moses' teachings. As he begins to tap his own mysterious powers, his mother and stepfather return, throwing his world back into chaos. Can he discover the truth about his father's death in time to protect all he holds dear? And can he do it without being damaged by his own hatred and violence?
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About the Author: (from Amazon)
A poet and fiction writer, my work has been published in Poet Lore, Crystal Clear and Cloudy, and Flying Colors Anthology. I am a past attendee of Pikes Peak Writer's Conferences and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, and a current member of Lighthouse Writer's Workshop in Denver, Colorado. In addition, as a professional counselor and psychotherapist, I for many years counseled perpetrators of domestic violence and sex offenders, and provided therapies for individuals and families. I hold a master's degree in contemplative psychotherapy from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Born in Kentucky and raised in Detroit, I drew inspiration for my first novel, Then Like The Blind Man: Orbie's Story, from childhood experiences growing up around Harlan's Crossroads, Kentucky. My life-long studies of Tibetan Buddhism and Vedanta not to mention encounters with Native American Shamanism are also of note in this regard.
Two memories served as starting points for a short story I wrote that eventually became the novel, Then Like the Blind Man / Orbie's Story. One was of my Kentucky grandmother as she emerged from a shed with a white chicken held upside down in one of her strong bony hands. I, a boy of nine and a "city slicker" from Detroit, looked on in wonderment and horror as she summarily wrung the poor creature's neck. I watched as it ran about the yard frantically, yes incredibly, as if trying to locate something it had misplaced as if the known world could be set aright, recreated, if only that one thing could be found. And then of course it died. The second memory was of lantern light reflected off stones that lay on either side of a path to a storm cellar me and my grandparents were headed for one stormy night beneath a tornado's approaching din. There was wonderment there too, along with a vast and looming sense of impending doom. For these and many others of my childhood memories I owe my grandparents. Had I not been exposed to their homespun and wizened ways I would not have been able to begin my short story much less this novel. The same goes for my dear, good-hearted parents who have survived many bad times to enjoy the good.
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