In Between… Life by Luiz Valério de Paula Trindade is a collection of 30 of the Brazilian poet’s English-language works. Each poem is headed by a full-page, colour photograph that is related to the topic of the poem, showcasing the poet’s other loves of photography and travel. In the introduction, he states that his vision for the collection was to capture a range of human emotional experience in the most apt words possible, but without making the poetry feel inaccessible and distant. It’s supposed to feel like a conversation with a friend.
I loved the idea behind this collection, of sharing poetry as widely as possible. I can certainly imagine philosophising about some of the topics late into the night with a friend. Unfortunately, in places this aim detracted from the poetry itself, leading to the telling-rather-than-showing, shallow exploration of Human Dignity, or some of the repetitive, clichéd references to an unapproachable woman in impenetrable armour.
In other places, though, there was evocative imagery that I instantly related to; Turning the Page is a mature description of unrequited love, and it’s expressed as a rounded story. Many of my favourite poems appeared in the latter half of the collection, and most had this same characteristic. The well-chosen order of the lines and stanzas of You Don’t Know allowed me to travel with the main character as their feelings developed, and the ending felt like the cliffhanger in a novel – I wanted to find out what happened next!
Love is a common theme, but I felt as though more aspects of it could have been covered besides the romantic one – Especially For You was a notable exception. Within the romantic poems, Today stood out for me, written with a beautiful simplicity that was still deeply imbued with meaning. The repetition of similar phrases has a strength of several other poems. How combines this with descriptive imagery which really got me feeling its frustration! The rhythm adds to this nicely, but I thought the ending of it was a little awkward. I put this down to the occasional, unnatural syntax. I can imagine that in the poet’s native Portuguese these phrases would flow smoothly.
The last two poems I want to mention are Why I Write and Words. As a writer, their content resonated with me, and I think their description of the process and the importance of writing could help people who have different creative outlets to understand why I spend so much time doing it!
Overall, I believe the collection did cover a range of aspects of the human experience, and although it didn’t work for all of them, the poems that did benefit from the simple phrasing were very effective in bringing the emotions alive for me.
Pages: 94 | ISBN: 154303988X
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The Crooked Boundary is an intriguing story that slowly builds a crooked moral line between right and wrong. What was your inspiration for the setup of the story and how did that help you create the ending?
The inspiration was a friend who built a house on the wrong block of land; resulting in a legal battle that ended with a rather hollow win for him.
The description of the characters and their back stories are well developed. What is your experience with investing, websites, and real estate and how did you bring that into the novel?
I have dabbled in real estate investing for many years. As for websites, my knowledge is rather limited.
I think of The Crooked Boundary as a suspense story as well as a revenge story. Was it your intention to write this story in those genres?
Yes, as it was not intended to be a “who dunnit” mystery novel, I combined those two genres.
One of the main moral decisions in the novel is left up to a character named Cruz who I find to be an interesting person. What was your inspiration for that character and his role in the story?
Just to have a colorful character who could be construed as the good guy in the story.
Disgruntled investors who participated in class actions against the promoters of two failed dot-com companies in Australia and Brazil are left stunned when both actions are dismissed in the courts. The promoters then use the profits from their dubious business operations in the development of a country club and golf course in Tarabush, Australia. The project will be built on land purchased from their next door neighbor, Rex Whittaker, who lost money in the Australian dot-com company. Rex is a retired widower living alone; he befriends Cruz Bardot an information technology specialist who served in the Gulf War. Cruz is also the president of a dirt bike club located in bushland behind Rex’s property. When the only access bridge to the dirt bike club area is washed away in a flash flood, Rod and Cal, who are an eccentric pair of Vietnam vets and despite their age are dirt bike club members, go looking in the forest for another way to get to the dirt bike area. As they look for that alternative route they meet Rex for the first time, and unbeknown to everyone except Cruz, what comes out of that chance meeting creates what could be an opportunity for some of the investors to recoup part of their losses. It is now up to Cruz to decide what to do about it.
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The Crooked Boundary by Ian Bradshaw is a tale of the owners of two dot-com companies in Brazil and Australia that completely failed, causing investors to lose a great deal of money. The investors are so upset, they filed a class action suit against the owners. The owners then take the earning from those companies and being the development on a country club and golf course in Australia. Behind that property is a dirt bike course whose only access bridge becomes washed away in a storm. Two members of the club decide to go in search of an alternative route to the club in a nearby forest. There they meet Rex and Cruz. This chance meeting begins an opportunity for the previous investors of the failed dot-com companies to regain some of their losses.
Mr. Ian Bradshaw writes with an authoritative and informative voice. He spends time building up the background of the dot-com companies as well as the owners. The settings are very descriptive and characters are complex. The flow and pacing of the story is conducive to the development of the characters. Mr. Bradshaw does a good job at developing the battle between the self interest of the owners and the high moral ground they choose to ignore. This conflict develops organically through dialogue and character interaction. He does a great job relating everything together without making it feel forced or unnatural. The story takes place in two of the most interesting and exotic places: Australia and Brazil, thus giving the story a remote feel to it. But with that said, sometimes there was so much description that some points needed to be reread as it seemed difficult to understand some of the wording. And there were some sections that were heavy in investment and business lingo.
Otherwise, the author weaves an interesting tale of complex interpersonal relationships and shady business practices. A lot of things are happening at once in this story, or rather multiple stories that are all connected through the same cast of characters. Every step of the way, Bradshaw keeps his readers guessing and contemplating what will happen next. Every moment in the story is unpredictable building suspense in seemingly common interactions. The characters are completely unpredictable as well, just when you think you know how a certain character will react to a situation, they do something different. What I really enjoyed about this story is that it’s complete; there are no holes leaving me wondering what happened.
There are many elements that go into making this an excellent story. Mr. Bradshaw draws on his experiences as a real estate investor for his novel. This is evident throughout the novel. He does a remarkable job at turning his own knowledge into a fascinating novel. I would recommend this novel not only to people who enjoy business and investment, but also those who enjoy a compelling novel with a unique style of suspense.
Pages: 330 | ISBN: 1502364433