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THE CHRISTOS MOSAIC: A Novel ~Vincent Czyz

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Batten down the hatches and get set for a spectacular read and thrilling adventure in the same league as the DAVINCI CODE and other well written conspiracy theories. An imaginative romp through the serious efforts of theological pursuits, Dead Sea Scrolls and the Life of Jesus theorists; includes car chases and foreign locations.

“Author Vincent Czyz takes the reader through the backstreets of Istanbul, Antakya (ancient Antioch), and Cairo, to clandestine negotiations with wealthy antiquities smugglers and ruthless soldiers of fortune, to dusty Egyptian monasteries, on a nautical skirmish off the coast of Alexandria, and finally to the ruins of Constantine’s palace buried deep beneath the streets of present-day Istanbul. “ (Amazon’s page)

Drew, an expat living in Turkey is working to get back with his ex-wife.  He is a Biblical scholar who majored in Literature in college.  He connects with Kadir, a dwarf antiquities dealer on ‘the street of used books’ in Istanbul who is with Zafer, an ex-military special forces operative, working together to retrieve a newly discovered Dead Sea Scroll and another parchment, which will change history and the Christian Church; making this team a tremendous amount of money.  There are a significant number of people who do not want these scrolls to be made public or have them given to the academic sphere.  Drew is valuable to the team as he assists their efforts and shows them how to get the scrolls to the academic world/rightful owners and also for them to make lots of money.

The book is very intelligent and Drew is continuously studying his college classwork, purchasing new historic works and thinking through what he is learning.  His curiosity is very keenly attuned and he pulls together some amazing concepts and intellectual discourse.  The story is also about relationships and emotions working towards saving the marriage and the manipulations of truths by violence, anger, and deceit. We are within the study of how to get to the core of basic human interaction and the core of an historic study to identify the beliefs and the “realness” of the story that one is experiencing.

I enjoyed this fast paced book from start to finish and it was quite a challenge to recall the hours and lessons of graduate school, where I was delving into church history and theology as it relates to the stories, which promote our confessions of faith and serve our belief systems.  What makes a person challenge or change their minds or act in new and different ways?  How do individuals love and find their deepest truths?   Well versed in traditions and full of imagination and fictionalizations, THE CHRISTOS MOSAIC is an intense and high-powered encyclopedic read.  I would read it again.  Better than the DAVINCI CODE.

TLC Book Tours sent me an advance uncorrected proof of this book for review.  I thought it was great and I so enjoy stories that activate the mind and make one think; producing new ideas, affirming possibilities.

From TLC books about the author:

“Vincent Czyz is the author of The Christos Mosaic, a novel, and Adrift in a Vanishing City, a collection of short fiction. He received two fellowships from the NJ Council on the Arts and the W. Faulkner-W. Wisdom Prize for Short Fiction. The 2011 Truman Capote Fellow at Rutgers University, his stories and essays have appeared in New England Review, Shenandoah, AGNI, The Massachusetts Review, Tin House (online), Boston Review, Quiddity, The Tampa Review, The Georgetown Review, and Skidrow Penthouse, among other publications. He spent a total of nearly a decade in Istanbul, Turkey before settling in Jersey City. His work often deals with the existential themes found in art, myth and religion, dreams, and primal ways of perceiving the world.”

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PRIVATE CITIZENS: A Novel ~Tony Tulathimutte

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

  • An Amazon “Best Book” of Month
  • A Buzzfeed “Most Exciting” Book of 2016
  • A Flavorwire “Most Anticipated” Book 2016

I was so lucky to be sent PRIVATE CITIZENS for review for TLC BOOK TOURS.  We started off by getting the tour dates mixed up and this book arrived before May.  This was okay and we rallied around to find a new spot for it.

Here’s what it said on the book cover:
“ From a brilliant new literary talent comes a sweeping comic portrait of privilege, ambition, and friendship in millennial San Francisco.  With the Social Acuity of Adelle Waldman and the murderous wit of Martin Amis, Tony Tulathimutte’s PRIVATE CITIZENS is a brainy, irreverent debut “ – This Side of Paradise for a new era.

“Private Citizens is a freak of literature – a novel so authentic, hilarious, elegantly plotted, and heartbreaking that I’d follow it anywhere.  Tony Tulathimutte is a singular intellect with an uncanny 40/20 vision on the world.”  – Jennifer duBois, author of Cartwheel and A Partial History of Lost Causes

Tony Tulathimutte is a very smart fellow
“Tulathimutte has contributed to AGNI, The Three Penny Review, The American reader, Salon, The New Yorker on line, and other publications.  A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and Stanford University, he has received an O. Henry prize, a MacDowell Colony fellowship, and the Michener- Copernicus Society of America Award.  He lives in New York.”

Hilarious, authentic, intelligent were the words that truly captivated me and to learn about the privileged young people who graduated from Stanford University, I was totally ready to read this book.  Four friends reconnecting, yes!  This sounds very good indeed.  I set aside a whole afternoon to start the read.   After 4 hours at it, I realized I had slept 90 minutes of my time away instead of reading.  I am too old to find bowel track humor very funny any more, I could not find humor at all instead I found the style very distracting and the 4 friends pathetic.

On the second session of reading, I engaged a bit with Cory the social activist as she connected with a cultish self-help seminar,  I could identify as my wishes and hopes were not being met early after graduation either and I fell pray to something like this situation.  When I had 75 pages left to read, I jumped to the last chapter and finished PRIVATE CITIZEN’s. I have no idea why one character needed eye surgery.  I did not care.  I felt rather hopeless about recent graduates and a kind of despair sticks with me as I begin reading the next book on the list.

I did not like this book and thought the drug usage, sex, and alcohol consumption were too big a focus for these whiney characters.  Wow not funny, not smart, and I find it sad that PRIVATE CITIZENS is so anticipated and folks are so excited about it – worrisome to me. All that privilege and such weak outcomes.  I am concerned for our future.

Tony Tulathimutte Website
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