Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Review: Then and Now: The Harmony of the Instantaneous All

Then and Now: The Harmony of the Instantaneous All
Then and Now: The Harmony of the Instantaneous All by Randy Attwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Note: I originally read this 10/6/11. Re-reading as a polishing edit in preparation for the author to provide this as a POD paperback.

Reading Level: Adult

Disclaimer: I originally read this from an ebook provided by the author, who asked me to give him some ideas as to genre and provide an honest review.

Synopsis: Stan Nelson, in his forties, is mired in nostalgia for the 1960s and the woman he lost then. He figures his only way out is to write about why he is so frozen. He creates in words the times and characters of then. He locates those characters in the now so they can comment on the veracity of his words about then. Except for the Chinese woman who first introduced him to the Tao. And it turns out understanding the Tao of building a tea hut in the now just may be his release from the then.

My thoughts: Randy asked me to read Then & Now and give him some ideas of the genre. Like all of Randy’s wonderful stories, this one is hard to quantify. It tells the story of Stan Nelson and his time at KU in Lawrence, KS during the events of winter and spring 1969 – 1970, including the riots sparked off when a police officer shot a young, black man. Stan was a sort of hub – center of a group of people who were all involved in the scene in different ways. While there are a number of romance elements in the story, I think it is even more a coming-of-age story – showing how the events and repercussions of the events changed Stan’s life and how he dealt with those changes. Edit: I feel it only fair to warn people that this is written from the point-of-view of the times, and as a result there might be triggers for those sensitive to racist and sexist language. These things are used to create a sense of reality and timeframe and while probably shocking, I think the usages are justified. End edit

Anyone interested in aspects of the 60s’ culture and events, and/or interested in how people relate to each other and learn about themselves should find something to love in this story. I was engrossed in it throughout and read it straight through, stopping only when absolutely necessary, and then for as short a time as possible. Like all of Randy’s works, I can highly recommend this book to just about anyone.

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