Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Book Review: A Scarecrow's Bible

A Scarecrow’s Bible by Martin Hyatt
Gay Book Reviews/Fiction
TITLE: A Scarecrow's Bible AUTHOR: Martin Hyatt
ISBN: 978-0-9763411-4-7 PUBLISHER: Suspect Thoughts Press

In a house trailer in rural Mississippi, Gary, a married Vietnam veteran, addicted to drugs, haunted by memories of the past, is on the brink of collapse. Just when he thinks the dream of another life is over, the unspeakable happens. He falls in love with a frail, ghostly younger man who reminds him of youth, beauty, and the possibility of a life beyond the prison he has created for himself.

Hyatt has created a wonderful group of dysfunctional characters, who live and breath in every small town. He shows the working class life and struggles with compassion and grace. At first, the second person viewpoint takes a couple of paragraphs to get used to, but once, the reader accepts the role of Gary, the story takes over. My partner struggled with the second person narrative and couldn't read the book, but I loved it. After he meets Zachary, there are a few passages in italics, which are in third person, to allow the reader to understand his perspective on life. This is a gay love story not like any I have read before. In fact, it is so much more. This is a literary masterpiece from a debut author. He handles the characters, their struggles, and triumphs with a skill of a seasoned author. I couldn't believe this was his first novel. An example of his mastery of the character and language is "As you go down the steps you realize that it's not looking so rainy anymore. The light is a little stunning to you, causing you to almost drop the dresser. Once you dropped a dead man, and you never went back to pick him up. Then you began to drop them all of the time because that's what you did when people became heavy. And now Gina has done it to you." This passage shows how Hyatt interweaves various times of the character's life into a single moment of moving a dresser. Amazing skill. I highly recommend this book.

Review by Fred Towers

Reprinted from Rainbow Reviews

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