EMAIL:Russell Irwin - Second Revision

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Ok, so a couple of more hours of revision and a lot of help from the thesaurus produced this version that I am a bit more pleased with. There is a lot more to cover, still this seems a good start.

-Kyle


A Theological Allegory Woven from Threads of Meticulous Nuance

The dialect of Poyama, the protagonist of Russell Stuart Irwin's second novel, is a creole with linguistic roots that are drawn from across the world. Aspects of these disparate tongues are fused together into a idiosyncratic mix lending his speech an unmistakably distinct flavor. His diction parallels an equally distinct interplay of cultural threads drawn out through painstakingly depicted expositions on peculiarities of the drama's context interspersed throughout the narrative; a remarkable feature for one whose primary arc closely follows the Classical unities of time and place.

Readers of the novel are taken through accounts of topic such as the history and competing philosophies of viticulture, the complex interplay of cultural dynamics from which this history emerges, a series of well seasoned reflections on equestrian arts and detailed portraits of personal backgrounds which underpin the outlook and character arcs of the most important individuals within the story. Such careful characterizations give this tale whose principal actors are wine growers living in 19th century North Carolina qualities that would befit a methodologically naturalist outlook but the soul of Irwin's story could not be further removed from such a school of thought – rather, the painstakingly nuanced particulars that adorn the narrative are woven into a multi layered tapestry of deeply symbolic theological significance.

Though singular in intrinsic nature these myriad threads drawn from far and wide give the novel an inclusive essence because (and not despite the fact) the novel draws from such a diverse palate of human experience. Aptly so, as the meta-narrative that frames this intensely allegorical drama is one of mythic absolutes – ruminations on the human condition that contemplate unconditional truths that are not dependent on historic circumstance or personal contingency. Indeed, the very name Poyama alludes to the novel's spiritual framework by virtue of being drawn from a word in the Koine Greek of the Apostle Paul's Letter to the Ephesians of the Christian New Testament. It is through the specific particularization of the Biblical principles of humanity's relation to God that this richly detailed period novel reflects the universal commonalities of the human condition. Rsiaugusta <rsiaugusta@yahoo.com>

Jul 12

to me Great stuff. Thank you Kule.

Sent from Samsung Conquer™ 4G Rsiaugusta <rsiaugusta@yahoo.com>

Jul 15

to me OK, I finally have a minute to get a proper response to you. I was on the run all weekend and wanted to get some acknowledgment back to you - thus the woefully short email I sent. What I especially appreciate about your deeply thoughtful review is the context of literary motif in which it is cast. Your knowledge of literary process and cultural dialogue is much greater than mine. And it comes through in your review and all the thoughts offered prior to it. I greatly appreciate your willingness to wrestle with the text and see it not as created in a vacuum but in a greayer cotext of literary climate and acievement. Thanks again Kyle for you insightful input. Kyle Sullivan <john.m.owen.37@gmail.com>

Jul 15

to Rsiaugusta The review will continue to expand - this is just a first pass "executive summary" that distills what struck me as the most salient features of the text. Would like to bring it up to a couple of pages to provide some distillation re: other major points of the narrative, the significance of Poyama, Wind and his allegorical standing, Gloria's prophetic utterance, the dynamics of pride and self justification through works. The issue that I had for so long with this novel is that there were so many threads woven into the narrative and so many had a sort of meta/symbolic/allegorical loading to them that it was difficult to even know where to begin a summary. Hence, I suppose, the central thesis that I settled on that I would next hopefully like to flesh out into a more full critique of the major dynamics of the story.

The current book I think is a good work with some great qualities (particularly in its exposition & texturing of the context of the drama). Nonetheless, there are some weaknesses in the narrative & some of the dialogue / interpersonal interaction seems a little hard to accept as plausible. I think that it is part of the difficulty of balancing a text that operates both as a theological meta narrative and a nuanced & well contextualized period piece. If the novel had just one or the other dimension (being a much simpler sort of work) it would be easier to test specific elements of the text for credibility. Since the novel has this tendency to blend/blur conventions of genre the issue of balancing these aspects pleasingly becomes a highly challenging affair. A bit like composing a good wine, I suppose? Such slight deviations from credibility can leave a lingering "off taste" if not balanced with the utmost care. I think the wine is as much of a good analogy for the work as a whole as the creole is for the interplay of its constituent parts.

Also would like to hit upon some aspects of the novel that I thought were a bit hard to digest - the encounters with the horse thieves, the escaped slaves Jim. A lot of the second half of the book was difficult to piece together as a narrative that seems internally consistent completely on a chronological basis. I almost feel like I would have to put the story together into a spreadsheet/chronology format to see if I can make proper sense of precisely how one event follows another, and why the sequence of Poyama's encounters is consistent with a coherent sequence of events. I struggled a lot with that reading the text, to be frank, and it may just be a function of the way that each element was introduced in context that made the chronology seem hard to follow. At any speed it does read as a bit confusing... c.f. the bounty hunters trailing after the Jims following their enlistment by the horse thieves... that triangle in my mind seemed specifically hard to resolve, as did the motivation for the horse thieves seeking out Malcolm's father only to subsequently kill him for witness to the crime? The motivation for this course of action seems somewhat convoluted to comprehend in the current text.

Incidentally, a friend of mine in Austin, TX by the name Jennifer Graham just let me know today that she has been (before now undisclosed as such) the ghostwriter for the Veronica Mars books that are going to continue the story of that series following the film adaptation of the television series. She might be also a good person to get some feedback re Poyama (perhaps particularly in the book business / marketing side of things as she is working for a for profit commercial property).

I really appreciate you giving me this project to work on. It is a very interesting intellectual exercise & has gotten me to hone a lot of critical thinking skills that I have sort of let atrophy in my focus upon more left brained oriented activities.

Regards,

John Kyle Sullivan <john.m.owen.37@gmail.com>

Jul 15

to Rsiaugusta Meant to include this in the previous email -

http://shelf-life.ew.com/2013/07/15/veronica-mars-book-series/

The ghost writer for this novel series Jen Graham was my dorm mom in my freshman year of college...

she might be someone who would have some interesting ideas, possibly in particular re: marketing and the business side of publishing. Getting a work written and getting it promoted are two very disparate activities and I know a lot of books have a tendency to linger in obscurity for a considerable time before (if ever?) connecting to a broader audience. Since she is able to attach herself to established brand properties she might have some good insights into how to develop an audience. Marketing is something that I am only learning now the faintest outlines of, and would have next to no direct insight in how to do properly, but with a little effort I think there could easily be some people found who might have some good ideas on this subject... provided that is the sort of thing is what you are interested in.

I am sure that writing a novel is such a monumental investment of energy and focus that eventually a degree of fatigue with the process sets in and dissipates the initial enthusiasm / drive. Thus, it is a bit hard to get a sense of exactly how much you want to invest energy in such an all consuming and financially uncertain area of focus. Rsiaugusta <rsiaugusta@yahoo.com>

Jul 16

to me Thanks again Kyle. I am equally interested in any inconsistencies you find and can point out. The ones you have metioned Are things I have wrestled with extensively (hour by hour evaluation etc...) but may yet have erred. As you mentioned, there is a lot going on. The thieves and Malolms father is the very real presence of randomness and absurdity in the sin complex of man - targetting, usery, and yes, even murder if deemed efficatious in such vile context. Russell Irwin <rsiaugusta@yahoo.com>

Aug 8

to me Kyle, I just reread this review, which I am drawn back to frquently, and enjoyed it yet more again than all the other times. Thank you again for all the time you put into crafting it, but even more . . . much more, for the time you invested really getting to the essence of the novel. That is deeply meaningful to me. We definiely share an understanding here. R

RUSSELL STUART IRWIN RSI CREATIVE, LLC http://www.russellirwin.com/ 636-667-7658

We are souls embodied amidst a peculiar and brief physical experience.


From: Kyle Sullivan <john.m.owen.37@gmail.com> To: Rsiaugusta <rsiaugusta@yahoo.com> Sent: Monday, July 15, 2013 11:00 PM Subject: Re: 2nd Revision

Meant to include this in the previous email -

http://shelf-life.ew.com/2013/07/15/veronica-mars-book-series/

The ghost writer for this novel series Jen Graham was my dorm mom in my freshman year of college...

she might be someone who would have some interesting ideas, possibly in particular re: marketing and the business side of publishing. Getting a work written and getting it promoted are two very disparate activities and I know a lot of books have a tendency to linger in obscurity for a considerable time before (if ever?) connecting to a broader audience. Since she is able to attach herself to established brand properties she might have some good insights into how to develop an audience. Marketing is something that I am only learning now the faintest outlines of, and would have next to no direct insight in how to do properly, but with a little effort I think there could easily be some people found who might have some good ideas on this subject... provided that is the sort of thing is what you are interested in.

I am sure that writing a novel is such a monumental investment of energy and focus that eventually a degree of fatigue with the process sets in and dissipates the initial enthusiasm / drive. Thus, it is a bit hard to get a sense of exactly how much you want to invest energy in such an all consuming and financially uncertain area of focus.

Kyle


On Mon, Jul 15, 2013 at 10:46 PM, Kyle Sullivan <john.m.owen.37@gmail.com> wrote:

   The review will continue to expand - this is just a first pass "executive summary" that distills what struck me as the most salient features of the text. Would like to bring it up to a couple of pages to provide some distillation re: other major points of the narrative, the significance of Poyama, Wind and his allegorical standing, Gloria's prophetic utterance, the dynamics of pride and self justification through works. The issue that I had for so long with this novel is that there were so many threads woven into the narrative and so many had a sort of meta/symbolic/allegorical loading to them that it was difficult to even know where to begin a summary. Hence, I suppose, the central thesis that I settled on that I would next hopefully like to flesh out into a more full critique of the major dynamics of the story.
   The current book I think is a good work with some great qualities (particularly in its exposition & texturing of the context of the drama). Nonetheless, there are some weaknesses in the narrative & some of the dialogue / interpersonal interaction seems a little hard to accept as plausible. I think that it is part of the difficulty of balancing a text that operates both as a theological meta narrative and a nuanced & well contextualized period piece. If the novel had just one or the other dimension (being a much simpler sort of work) it would be easier to test specific elements of the text for credibility. Since the novel has this tendency to blend/blur conventions of genre the issue of balancing these aspects pleasingly becomes a highly challenging affair. A bit like composing a good wine, I suppose? Such slight deviations from credibility can leave a lingering "off taste" if not balanced with the utmost care. I think the wine is as much of a good analogy for the work as a whole as the creole is for the interplay of its constituent parts.
   Also would like to hit upon some aspects of the novel that I thought were a bit hard to digest - the encounters with the horse thieves, the escaped slaves Jim. A lot of the second half of the book was difficult to piece together as a narrative that seems internally consistent completely on a chronological basis. I almost feel like I would have to put the story together into a spreadsheet/chronology format to see if I can make proper sense of precisely how one event follows another, and why the sequence of Poyama's encounters is consistent with a coherent sequence of events. I struggled a lot with that reading the text, to be frank, and it may just be a function of the way that each element was introduced in context that made the chronology seem hard to follow. At any speed it does read as a bit confusing... c.f. the bounty hunters trailing after the Jims following their enlistment by the horse thieves... that triangle in my mind seemed specifically hard to resolve, as did the motivation for the horse thieves seeking out Malcolm's father only to subsequently kill him for witness to the crime? The motivation for this course of action seems somewhat convoluted to comprehend in the current text.
   Incidentally, a friend of mine in Austin, TX by the name Jennifer Graham just let me know today that she has been (before now undisclosed as such) the ghostwriter for the Veronica Mars books that are going to continue the story of that series following the film adaptation of the television series. She might be also a good person to get some feedback re Poyama (perhaps particularly in the book business / marketing side of things as she is working for a for profit commercial property). 
   I really appreciate you giving me this project to work on. It is a very interesting intellectual exercise & has gotten me to hone a lot of critical thinking skills that I have sort of let atrophy in my focus upon more left brained oriented activities.
   Regards,
   John


   On Mon, Jul 15, 2013 at 2:57 PM, Rsiaugusta <rsiaugusta@yahoo.com> wrote:
       OK, I finally have a minute to get a proper response to you. I was on the run all weekend and wanted to get some acknowledgment back to you - thus the woefully short email I sent.
       What I especially appreciate about your deeply thoughtful review is the context of literary motif in which it is cast. Your knowledge of literary process and cultural dialogue is much greater than mine. And it comes through in your review and all the thoughts offered prior to it. I greatly appreciate your willingness to wrestle with the text and see it not as created in a vacuum but in a greayer cotext of literary climate and acievement. 
       Thanks again Kyle for you insightful input.
       R


       Sent from Samsung Conquer™ 4G


       Kyle Sullivan <john.m.owen.37@gmail.com> wrote:


       Ok, so a couple of more hours of revision and a lot of help from the thesaurus produced this version that I am a bit more pleased with. There is a lot more to cover, still this seems a good start.
       -Kyle
       ----------------
       A Theological Allegory Woven from Threads of Meticulous Nuance
       The dialect of Poyama, the protagonist of Russell Stuart Irwin's second novel, is a creole with linguistic roots that are drawn from across the world. Aspects of these disparate tongues are fused together into a idiosyncratic mix lending his speech an unmistakably distinct flavor. His diction parallels an equally distinct interplay of cultural threads drawn out through painstakingly depicted expositions on peculiarities of the drama's context interspersed throughout the narrative; a remarkable feature for one whose primary arc closely follows the Classical unities of time and place.
       Readers of the novel are taken through accounts of topic such as the history and competing philosophies of viticulture, the complex interplay of cultural dynamics from which this history emerges, a series of well seasoned reflections on equestrian arts and detailed portraits of personal backgrounds which underpin the outlook and character arcs of the most important individuals within the story. Such careful characterizations give this tale whose principal actors are wine growers living in 19th century North Carolina qualities that would befit a methodologically naturalist outlook but the soul of Irwin's story could not be further removed from such a school of thought – rather, the painstakingly nuanced particulars that adorn the narrative are woven into a multi layered tapestry of deeply symbolic theological significance.
       Though singular in intrinsic nature these myriad threads drawn from far and wide give the novel an inclusive essence because (and not despite the fact) the novel draws from such a diverse palate of human experience. Aptly so, as the meta-narrative that frames this intensely allegorical drama is one of mythic absolutes – ruminations on the human condition that contemplate unconditional truths that are not dependent on historic circumstance or personal contingency. Indeed, the very name Poyama alludes to the novel's spiritual framework by virtue of being drawn from a word in the Koine Greek of the Apostle Paul's Letter to the Ephesians of the Christian New Testament. It is through the specific particularization of the Biblical principles of humanity's relation to God that this richly detailed period novel reflects the universal commonalities of the human condition.
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