A truth hidden within a fiction, within a fiction is what we are presented with by Eytan Halaban’s, Don Quixote Goes to Yale. Michael is an undergraduate at Yale, just about to graduate, who becomes fixated, nay obsessed, with the story of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Prompted by his Professor’s words, Michael goes in search of the hidden truth within Cervantes’ work of fiction – the treasure of Ricote. Michael’s girlfriend, Liz, a no-nonsense economics student thinks he is insane and threatens to disown him if he continues with this obsession, but she is in love with him. When Michael heads to Spain during Spring Break, to seek the treasure, Liz reluctantly follows behind him, still seeking to change his mind and encourage him to enjoy an all-expenses paid vacation with her. A collection of ne’er-do-well’s, also looking for the clue that will reveal the hidden treasure, are lurking in the background ready to pounce. Michael is not alone, though. Fortunately, he has his imaginary friend Boomie, a reflection of himself, to help him, plus of course, Cervantes and his book, Don Quixote.
I loved the premise of this story and must congratulate Eytan Halaban for his cleverness in constructing this idea. The story itself was a wonderful immersion into the times of Cervantes and Don Quixote. What I particularly liked about this tale was the way the author was able to weave the original Don Quixote text into his story. The fifteenth century text and the fades in and out into that time, by Michael, just added to the uniqueness and cleverness of this tale. Don Quixote Goes to Yale is a triumph, in my opinion. The author has woven together a modern story wrapped around the famous and classic tale of Don Quixote and his tilting at windmills. It was certainly easy to equate the modern-day Michael to the bumbling and perhaps slightly mad Don Quixote of Cervantes’ imagination. Michael’s journey to Spain was, it seems, a veritable tilting at windmills… or was it? An excellent book and one I’m sure all aficionados of classical literature will enjoy and lap up.
As a fairly prolific reviewer who reads almost exclusively Indie Authors, a lot of books cross my Kindle over a year. I can honestly say that many of them are the equal or better of the Legacy Authors' books, but every so often a book appears (often out of the blue) that absolutely speaks, as a reader, beyond my mind and touches my heart and even my soul. 4 Years Trapped in My Mind Palace by Johan Twiss, is such a book. Unexpectedly, it took me by storm and transported me to a different world, a world that resonated with things and emotions that were as strong to me and as important to me, as I'm sure they were to Twiss.
Fourteen-year-old Aaron Greenburg receives what appears to be a life sentence when he contracts a rare form of meningitis that leaves him totally paralyzed and unable to communicate. The doctors and his parents are convinced that Aaron is a virtual vegetable, unable to interact in any way with the outside world. His parents have given up on Aaron and as he lays unable to move even a muscle, his mind is very much alive and very much active. To Aaron, his life has lost all meaning strapped to a hospital bed, unable to communicate and make the outside world understand that he is very much alive and his brain is still able to function. The intense loneliness and frustration this brings him causes him to create a mind-palace inside his head where he can retreat to whenever the loss of his freedom threatens to overwhelm him. In Aaron's mind palace he is able to move, to talk and to interact. It keeps him sane.
Aaron's life changes forever when an elderly man suffering from the early stages of dementia is moved into his rest-home room to share with him. Soloman Felsher can hear Aaron's thoughts and suddenly Aaron is no longer alone. What follows is a fascinating and wonderful journey, in Aaron's mind palace, through the life of this amazing man, as he and Aaron undertake a tour of the twentieth century, as seen through the eyes of Solomon Felsher.
This is a stunning tale, beautifully told by Twiss. As a reader, I was moved and deeply touched by the depth of the relationship that developed between this elderly man and his teenage friend. This story is chock full of good lessons for life on relationships, happiness, sadness, and many other emotions. Twiss has managed to tell a wonderful story and impart some great life lessons to his readers. What more can an author aspire to?
Baingana was a lost soul, wandering through life, unsure of himself and his place in the world. Whatever could go wrong in his life seemed to have gone wrong; he’d lost his job, his parents were furious with him, his friends seemed superficial and self-centred and his girlfriend, Zoe, had broken up with him. To Baingana it seemed that life truly had it in for him and he decided the only solution was to run away to his best friend Besim’s town and try and start anew. In Dancing with Sophia by Ramalho Almeida, the author takes Baingana, along with us fortunate readers on a journey that will forever change his attitude and his view of life, humanity and his place in the world.
I love it when an author weaves a personal philosophy into a fictional tale and that is exactly what Almeida has done with Dancing with Sophia. Whether you accept or believe the philosophy is irrelevant, it is the journey that is important and the examination of Baingana’s motives and views. What the author has done beautifully in this book is to entwine a philosophy that appears to have some of its roots in the Law of Attraction into a mystical journey through several stages, where Baingana meets first the old man Abner, the child, Inesa and finally the young woman Sophia. At each level, he learns and understands more about himself and his relationship to the rest of humanity, until finally, he is ready for the ultimate experience – to dance with Sophia. This book is beautifully written and perhaps the best part of all is the ten wonderful poems that underscore the prose throughout the story. I loved this story and the way Almeida told it. I highly recommend this book. If you liked the Life of Pi, you’ll love Dancing with Sophia.
...and the winner is!
4 years trapped in my mind palace by johan twiss
Be sure to stay tuned to my next category award, which will be - DYSTOPIAN
EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES LIFE PRESENTS TO YOU AND ALWAYS, ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!
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CHANGING THE WORLD – ONE READER AT A TIME