Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Flowers

by Dagoberto Gill

Thumbs down.

I really had to force myself to finish this one, but I didn't feel like I ought to write about it, if I hadn't finished it.

The Flowers is written very stylistically. The plot revolves around the main character, Sonny, who tells the story of his troubled life. Mr. Gill employs a stream of consciousness story telling method similar to that of William Faulkner. A reader almost has to read the entire book before figuring out who everyone is and how they all hold together.

Also distracting is the perpetual, multiple paragraph attempt to show a reader Sonny's daydreams in a metaphor of lights and colors and flashes.

The time setting is unclear; I think it's supposed to be contemporary. But the attitudes of racism displayed by some characters is more reminiscent of the sixties or seventies. Perhaps in a lower income urban neighborhood, those attitudes are still prevalent.

As the story unfolds, the racial tensions mount, culminating in several days of rioting until our hero, Sonny has to rescue the damsel in distress.

Although a few personalities exhibit a glimmer of noble character, a reader is left with the impression that poverty and despair are insurmountable and inevitably lead to a moral vacuum.

There is also the, seemingly prerequisite, graphically described sexuality.

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