Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review of "Silver Elvis," a single story in a collection by Michael Ramberg



Summary:
A compilation of four previously published stories from Minnesota writer Michael Ramberg. Ramberg's dark wit, combined with a strong compassion, creates memorable, oddball journeys through modern landscapes.

The Downstream Crossing:
A young man takes a woman on a riverboat cruise as an internet date; he jumps from the boat to save a girl, and ends up on a long, strange downriver odyssey.

Silver Elvis
Bob Dylan and Andy Warhol star in the tale of fame and jealousy in old New York City. Inspired by actual events!

First Avenue
Beige is approaching thirty, balding, lonely, and insecure. Can a night at the local dance institution save him, or just drive him over the edge?

Obituary
A short short about a homeless man's discovery of the death of his mother.

Review:
This story was, unfortunately, a very poor reading experience.  To start, there was a lack of basic grammar and syntax.  This is a direct copy/paste of a portion of dialogue:

– Why we here? Bob said suddenly.
– I dunno, Bobby N. said. Someone knows someone who said something was happening somewhere, then said maybe here.

No quotation marks were used.  I am aware that in some languages (such as Spanish) dashes are used instead of quotations to indicate speech.  However, as seen in the above example, there was nothing to indicate when the talking ends.

If this was unintentional, I would recommend that this author has his work thoroughly edited.  If it was intentional, the artistic attempt got in the way of the reading experience.

The end result was an extremely confusing story.  The lack of correct punctuation made it difficult for me to separate description from speech.  The parts I did understand were somewhat disjointed.  There was no discernible point or driving force behind the story.  If it was meant to depict a tale of jealousy as the summary suggests it was completely lost on me as none of the characters had any personality whatsoever.

It seems like Ramberg has some good ideas.  However, some serious polish is needed in order for them to shine through.

1/5 stars
Reviewed by Alain Gomez

Buy this story on Amazon.

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