Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lamb Bright Saviors by Robert Vivian

Lamb Bright Saviors was sent to me for review by Phenix and Phenix literary publicists.  Published in March 2010, this is his second novel in the Tall Grass Trilogy, which is set in  Nebraska. Publisher's Weekly called him a "latter-day Faulkner" after reading the novel I see evidences of just that. In Lamb Bright Saviors, a terminally ill itinerant preacher collects an unusual congregation for his last hours.

Summary: The story is the tale of an itinerant preacher and those who end up at his deathbed. There is the assistant Mady, who has been following the Mr. Gene around for nearly as long as she can recall. Then there are four recently reaquainted comrades who bring the preacher to the house and set up listening to his final words. Finally, there is Ms. Marion, the blind lady who home the others come to with the dying preacher. All who attend the preacher in his final hours have a broken pasts and a need for giving or receiving forgiveness. As the story plays out, we get glimpses in to past, present, and futures of the people in the room.

Review: The story was called a "gritty tale that explores themes of faith and forgiveness." If that is an intriging notion, then I would suggest one checks out the book. It has essences of Faulkner with beautiful descriptive sentences like "In the meantime the joy is simmering below your sundress inside your skin and even deeper than that: it goes so far inside it's like when you peel back the layers of an onion and it makes you wanna cry (p.10)." The text was chalk full of rich descriptions of life and transcendent ponderings of trains of thought. My greatest dislike was the quantity of vulgarity peppered throughout the book. It recalled to my mind Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. It too has a lot of profanity and yet is classic. For my reading, Lamb Bright Savior's clever use of the english language sustained it beyond the profane language. Additionally, the pervasive but not overly layered message of forgiveness and strength of character development enabled my enjoyment of the novel.

The book was dense for its 185 pages. It was not a quick read as I waded through the imagery, I found myself pausing and rereading passages to gain a more thorough understanding.

About the Author: Robert Vivian grew up in Nebraska. He has a PHD in creative writing and modern American literature, with a minor in religious studies from the University of Nebraska. He currently is living with his wife in Alma Michigan. There he is writing the third book in The Tall Grass Trilogy and teaching at Alma College.

3 out of 5 Stars. It was a definate departure from the YA books I have read in the past books. It was densely packed and determinedly intense.

1 comment :

  1. This book does not sound like one I would normally be drawn to, but I really enjoyed reading your review. Perhaps I need to venture out of my comfort zone more often.