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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Department of Book Reports: Jesus Swept

Oh Look! Something came in over the transom. And it's a keeper!We were tipped off to this book, and as always, I'm cautious. But(!) Vicki Hendricks blurbed this guy! If Vicki likes it, I'll certainly check it out. Jesus Swept by James Protzman (Kitsune, $12.00) is a rollicking Southern tale, told with great heart. The cast of characters here will delight any Hiassen fan. I hate dropping "just like" comparisons, but I'm ready to invoke the Carl here.

When a back-sliding Baptist sees a sign from god wash up on the beach in front of her, she should know enough to worry. But with her passport to paradise having long since expired, this Sunday stroller wouldn’t know a sign from god if it bit her on the butt. Which explains why she doesn’t so much as flinch when the cold Atlantic brine crashes hard around her ankles. Doesn’t see the troubled twins who watch her from the dunes. Doesn’t stop to think. Doesn’t think to pray. Moving fast to break a sweat, moving slow to comb for shells, she tracks the scalloped driftline with abandon. She angles past a willet standing one-legged in the sand, its head tucked onto its back like a spoon. The whisk of her walking springs the bird to life. It skitters away with her thoughts. She spies a gleaming glimmer in a swirling tidal pool. She stops and stoops and reaches. She falls face first in the foam.

Liz Forsythe finds a bracelet with mysterious inscriptions: Good works do. Kind and loving be. Joy in pleasure seek. Well, as in life, that is up to interpretations. As her life entwines with the twins, the denizens of the trailer park and who ever Jesus is this week, it all spirals into a very lovely fable for our days. You can read a couple other excerpts from early drafts here.

This is a sly satirical take on most all brands of religion that will have you chuckling. The characters are well drawn, and the story accurately nails the tiny quirks that exist at the edges of life. I was pulled in from the beginning, the sidewalk sweeping crew headed up by Jesus was perfect. Having had a bookstore in a strip mall, I can attest these guys really are out there.

If you live in North Carolina, you can catch a reading with James at The Internationalist Bookstore Feb 11 at 7pm.

I really love it when I see an indie bookstore button on an authors website. James also blogs at bluenc and dailykos.

I'd like to take a moment here and urge everyone to join us for the all day party on Inauguration Day on Second Life. Dano will be DJing at 7pm, and I've been putting together a photo exhibit of Obama's life. I bet I've found photos you haven't seen yet. I've seen some of the things that other folks are building and it's really going to be spectacular.
We've met a few new folks this past week, and it's nice to see people come over from here! Drop me an email and I'll help you get started.

As always books are available 24 hours a day at Jackson Street Books.

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We'll try dumping haloscan and see how it works.