The Science of Paul by Aaron Philip Clark

My reading back list is notoriously long, only accounting for the books I have bought, so finally reading a book I’ve known about for nearly a year is a small feat. I hadn’t even bought The Science of Paul by Aaron Philip Clark until the week before Christmas, so it should have sat in my stacks for another 2-3 months, depending on my life as I know it. The purchase, however, was spurned by an Op-Ed take over of Heath Lowrance’s Psycho-Noir blog where Clark discusses the erosion of Hollywood, LA, creative markets, et al. It wasn’t so much the context, which thoughts I was inline with, but the cadence of the voice. The harmonics of language. If Clark wrote this lush one off commentary, I could only imagine what his novel, which has garnered notable praise, would be like. I bought Clark’s The Science of Paul that day.

Aaron Philip Clark doesn’t disappoint as he slips the reader into the life of the eponymous protagonist, Paul Little, slowly unraveling the truth about Paul, an ex-con walking the precarious edge of freedom with his parole winding to an end on the streets of Philadelphia. Paul’s story starts out bleak, in true noir fashion, at the bottom of the proverbial barrel with nowhere to go but up, to freedom and to a new life, but Philadelphia like Paul’s past doesn’t want to let go. All Paul wants to do is escape his present life, to head down to his Grandfather’s farm in North Carolina and live a simple life again. Unfortunately, it feels as though the city, Philadelphia, conspires against his every actions, met with violence and consequence.

Had this been written by a less deft writer, The Science of Paul, would have been a fast paced, high action Saturday popcorn flick type of book. Paul has moments of intensity, but Clark doesn’t make a dance of the violence, a spectacle to entertain the masses. The conflicts are moments of action and reaction, preceded and followed by contemplation and characterization. Carried through the thoughts and actions of Paul, Clark creates an effortless dialog with the reader to which by the end imbues the regrets, self-doubt and the want to relinquish to the fate Philadelphia holds for men like Paul.

Lyrical, emotive, abrupt, and defiant, The Science of Paul is definitely one of my favorite books from 2011. I wish I had read it sooner.

You can learn more about The Science of Paul and where to buy from the publisher, New Pulp Press.

Holiday Havok, New Years to All and Happy B-day to me

Hey all, how was your holiday?

Mine was odd and busy. Things change, dynamics change. Nothing like it was as a kid. I guess that happens when you grow up.

We got a new kitten, a part-Bengal Cat terror we call Devlin. He is a constant source of entertainment, except when he decides your leg or arm is the toy he wants to play with. His transition with the older cats has been better than we expect. They tolerate him at least, and they’re getting a little more exercise when they become his next toy.

The New Year was no big shakes. Diner alone with my Granddad. Kelly had to work, and Kassy was off at the Farm with my Mother. I cooked a rack of lamb with couscous and a vegetable medley. I’ve become a better cook since my Mother got cancer, moving out to care for herself, and I’ve become his evening caregiver most nights. It’s been a team effort. But sitting alone with my 96 year old Granddad was a little different from New Years gone by. Things change.

My daughter, Kassy, turned 18 on the 4th. How did that happen? Eventually she’ll act 18, eventually. We did finally have a big family meal on Saturday as my Mom made us, Kassy and I, dinner for our birthdays. Yep, I had a birthday too, winding away at the death clock. 43 for me. How did that happen? It was a nice prime roast with polenta and vegetables. A really good meal with family. I miss that.

I want to thank everyone for the many birthday wishes on Twitter and Facebook. Makes those 43 years worth it, having so many well wishes. It wasn’t a bad 43rd birthday — I did manage to catch a cold — it could have been better.

I want to give Glenn Gray a big shout out for the unexpected, though solicited as a lark, gifts of various eBooks I had been remiss of getting this year. A gift of books in my house will always welcomed.

My wife gifted me with SATAN IS REAL: THE BALLAD OF THE LOUVIN BROTHERS by Charlie Louvin with (my buddy) Benjamin Whitmer. It’s a biography, which I don’t read often, the last being AMERICAN REBEL: THE LIFE OF CLINT EASTWOOD. Plan to crack that open this weekend.

I thought about rambling on a bit more, but I guess it can wait for another day.

Happy New Years to all, and I hope you all had a great holiday season.

Type at you later.