Time constraints attendant to many end-of-semester and fatherhood-related obligations (need to bicycle out to the DIY store and buy a bag of tasty crickets to feed Jack, our frog) force me to indecorously drop this into the blog today.
“The Language of Bears Book 1: the Polyps of Christ may be difficult to easily categorize, with its blend of literary perspective, philosophical and spiritual insight, and a degree of intellectualism not ordinarily seen in fiction; but readers who enjoy all these elements are in for a rare treat.
Adam is a 17th century New England Puritan farmer who leads a sedate and ordinary life until he discovers a television in the woods, which leads to his downfall.
The religious references are thought-provoking and often whimsical reflections. Adam Green is a farmer with very simple needs (“All he ever wanted was peace and all life had ever given him was horseshit.”) who finds himself in an impossible situation.
How do you describe a television set from the perspective of another era where TV never existed? John Eidswick’s attention to detail is just one example of the kind of approach and perspective that keeps readers delightfully intrigued as this thought-provoking story evolves: “It wasn’t a hive. There were no bees. The noise was not of many small things but of one big thing. It was trilling frantically from within, thousands of tiny dots prancing and skittering in – on? – the creature’s middle. Gnats? Adam grabbed at the thought, trying to find anything to explain the impossibility in front of him. The body of the creature was the strangest of all, devilishly unnatural, squared off like a dough box, black as the scars of the scorched oaks, fine-angled as saw teeth… The dots vanished. They didn’t fly away, didn’t go anywhere, yet they were gone. And more unfathomable was that in their place another thing appeared, all pink and familiar and smiling through the leaves. It was a human head. And it spoke to him. ”
As unholy elements enter his life and challenge his peaceful existence and the land he’s come to love, Adam faces accusations of witchcraft, a bid for the black gold that’s seeping through his land, and encounters with complex characters and family members that change everything he’s taken for granted about his life and its progression.
It should be noted that the ethereal nature and religious, philosophical, and fantasy elements that permeate The Language of Bears are described in detail in a story line that is which is filled with succinct, thought-provoking images and moments, representing literary fiction at its best example. Readers used to light drama from their leisure choices might find the story line less one-dimensional than their usual reads. The Language of Bears is more about exploring challenges to the nature of reality and perception itself, examining the kinds of choices that lead people (and bears) beyond the borders of their expectations and familiar definitions of life. There’s plenty of action, from battles to beehives to thwarting skinners, but these events illustrate richer context and meaning as the story progresses.
Characters are well-drawn and wonderfully rich in detail, dialogue and plot progression are powerfully depicted, and the subtle power and social issues bring to mind Orson Scott Card’s Prentice Alvin, to name one ‘read-alike’.
Take an early American world, inject a modern American technological wonder, challenge character lives and expectations, then sit back and watch the conundrums evolve.
Lyrical language, hard-hitting descriptions, and a story that moves from Adam’s discovery to its impact on George, Hildegard, and others who are imprisoned and affected by the clash between imagination and reality are hallmarks of a literary piece that blends weird fiction with an alternative Eden threatened by forces beyond ken.
The Language of Bears is delightfully original and satisfyingly unpredictable: highly recommended reading not for those who look for superficial action, but for readers who delight in finding an original voice that excels in alternative history and unique perspectives.”
-D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review