Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Little Book-Selden Edwards

The Little Book
Selden Edwards
Plume, May 2009, $15.00
ISBN: 9780452295513

In 1988 San Francisco, following a nasty assault, rock and roll Buddy Holly disciple "Wheeler" Burden somehow lands in Vienna, Austria circa 1897. He is bewildered by his landing, but feels euphoric as he has dreamed of the gilded age ever since he was a teen baseball player walking off the mound one pitch shy of a perfect game; instead preferring the tales of his history teacher Arnauld Esterhazy singing elegance about the city.

Wheeler hopes somehow he can meet the legends. Freud is working his psychology theories; Mahler is writing and conducting symphonies; Mayor Karl Lueger creates a new age anti-Semitism that influenced future generations especially when combined with Nietzsche’s Superman theory of Thus Spake Zarathustra. The visitor from the future encounters Twain who is on a European tour to avoid bankruptcy and Churchill just starting to make it as a smoking politician. However, instead of these notables and notorious, Wheeler is most euphoric over meeting his grandparents and his younger than him father.

Using time travel paradoxes like a magician, Selden Edwards provides a fascinating philosophical look at the “People’s Century” through the eyes of the traveling Burdens especially Wheeler who begins to understand the yin yang of reality as balance and symmetry is realism. Thus, for every success of the modern era there is a counter failure. Readers who relish something rather different will want to read this extremely convoluted chronicle that push readers from the comfort of linear cause and effect thinking to an interweaving ebbs and flows out of sequence story line.

Harriet Klausner

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