In this fast paced world of modern writing it can be hard for an up-and-coming author to find other, more experienced, authors whom we can look up to and learn from. Awhile back Kriss Morton introduced me to Sandcastle and Other Stories penned by Justin Bog. This book is an amazing work of short stories that are more emotionally dark, deep and thoughtful than many I have come across. This isn’t just some quick publication of shorts which are thrown together and have no real tie like you often see coming out. But rather stories with connected themes and ideas that we all can relate too, feel awkward about and enjoy in some way. The writing is elegant and beautiful and is some of the best I have read. Justin has amazing talent and I’m sure we will be seeing big things from him.
One of the things I enjoyed the most was how dark some of these stories are. They are not happy go lucky stories but ones which will leave you questioning things and feel turned around inside. They will make you think about the inner nature of the world and people in it. In Poseidon Eyes the rich imagery and symbolism Justin uses to tell this tale are nothing short of epic while also being incredibly humorous in places. I felt pleasantly trapped by Justin’s descriptions of the natural world and how he seemingly blended it effortlessly with that of the real world which the main character, Melanie, lives in. Her struggle between others expectations and her own dreams and desires is a battle I think we all go through.
As a native Michigander I found the short Mother of Twins especially entertaining. This story follows a new mother named, Mrs. Turner, who just gave birth to twin boys. Her sons are named Axel and Perry (perhaps an awesome ode to Guns and Roses but maybe not). The reader watches Mrs. Turner as she is sucked in by a social club of Moms led by the controlling Connie Yonker. This is a club of women who have all had twins and live in the area of Detroit/ Ann Arbor. I won’t give anymore away about this story but Justin did an amazing job describing that area of Michigan and some of the social leeching, snobby and might I say egotistical people who live in the SE east side of Michigan. I was proud in a way to see a little bit of my home state written about so well. I will add that Justin Bog did a great job writing from the perspective of a woman, its something many male authors have an issue with.
This was a truly wonderful anthology and I actually referenced the book in research paper about modern writing for a fiction writing class. After reading this I can’t wait to get into Justin’s newest book called the Conversationalist. As an up and coming writer myself I have learned a lot from Justin about the business of writing and my own writing myself. I admire his honesty in his writing as much as his ability. If you are into short stories check this book out but don’t be looking for happy endings.
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