Charactered Pieces: stories

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These are stories of hope amid the Zoloft and bar tabs that cushion our crumbling lives. More

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Published by OW Press
Published: Jan. 29, 2011
Words: 16,640
Language: English
ISBN: 9781599482286
About Caleb J. Ross

Caleb began writing his sophomore year of undergrad study when, tired of the formal art education then being taught, he abandoned the pursuit in the middle of a compositional drawing class. Major-less and fearful of losing his financial aid, he signed up to seek a degree in English Literature for no other reason than his lengthy history with the language. Coincidentally, this decision not only introduced him to writing but to reading as well. Prior this transition he had read three books. One of which he understood.

His fiction and nonfiction has appeared widely, both online and in print. He is the author of Charactered Pieces: stories (OW Press), Stranger Will: a novel (Otherworld Publications, 2011), I Didn’t Mean to Be Kevin: a novel (Black Coffee Press, 2011), and As a Machine and Parts (Aqueous books, 20–). He is an editor at Outsider Writers Collective and moderates The Velvet Podcast, which gathers writers for round table discussions on literature.

Videos

Charactered Pieces, Lungs for Readers
As part of the Charactered Pieces: stories (by Caleb J Ross) preorder, the ArtJerk.net jerks fill the pages with the sweet smell of ACID cigars. The experiment may have failed; most of the books ended up smelling like burnt paper. Strange. You can buy Charactered Pieces at Amazon.com or direct from the publisher at www.outsiderwriters.org; non-stinky versions, of course.

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Reviews

Review by: Tim Jovick on Sep. 04, 2013 : star star star star
A short book of short stories offered for free as an ebook from the author, for which I am grateful, as he’s putting himself “out there” for feedback with no monetary recompense. This is my first foray into the mind of Mr. Ross, and it’s a heck of a ride. The stories themselves (some seven of them) are populated with tragic, very flawed people, making it somewhat of an emotional trek to get through them. The plots are mere vehicles for the internal conflicts and largely negative, complex relationships among the characters.

My favorite is “The Camp,” in which the protagonist’s brother, who died “perhaps” of suicide, has taken upon himself a task of making a documentary about the Nazi prison/death camps, which is played at random hours, it looks like on the local PBS affiliate, so our protagonist finally watches it in toto, gaining a lot in sight into not only this horrific phenomenon, but also his brother’s nature and struggles. The boys’ mother hovers, having a great deal of difficulty dealing with the brother’s death, thus making the protagonist even more curious about his brother.

The second favorite is “Refill,” about a psychiatric patient wondering if he should refill his prescription for his medication, and in the process of this dialogue with himself gathers his office mates into the process. Fun, but disturbing.

Anyway, four stars for Mr. Ross. I recommend this small book, but just be warned, it ain’t a lot of comedy. I also have his “Murmurs – Gathered Stories,” also free, awaiting a reading. Thanks, Mr. Ross, lookin’ forward to reading them too.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Cathleen McCleary on April 25, 2012 : star star star star
Charactered Pieces is such an interesting read. Some of the stories are very disturbing in nature. The gritty, stark and sometimes depraved nature of how these stories are written is both disturbing and provoking. I had many emotions and thoughts as I went from story to story. The Camel Of Morocco stands out as one that made me feel the most disgust as I visualized the bloodletting and drinking. The story that I enjoyed the most is The Camp for the sheer human emotion felt at the loss of a loved one and how those left behind deal with the pain of this loss.

Many thanks to the author for bringing these stories to publication.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Frank Edler on March 15, 2012 : star star star star
Caleb J Ross just gave me an 'eyegasam' reading his short story collection, CHARACTERED PIECES. His sensual words dances across my vision and stroked my being to full arousal. I can now count myself as part of the minions who heterosexually swoon at the words of Caleb J Ross. Thanks Bookedpodcast.com!

Charactered Pieces is a small collection of short stories that can best be summed up as examinations of the human condition. Familial relationships are dominant themes in this book and I've heard the term 'Domestic Fiction' or something akin to that used to describe the author's tendencies toward genre. Call it what you will, Ross has a unique way of describing human relationships. That more then anything is what is on display in this collection.

Typically I don't comment directly specific content in my reviews but I wish to break the rule here. The story, "An Optimist is the Human Personification of Spring" was moving. I have not had that deep an emotional reaction to a story in quite some time and I certainly can not recall ever being that emotionally vested in a story that short. Brilliant work there among a collection of already top notch writing.

I'm very glad I was introduced to Caleb J Ross from a great podcast (BookedPodcast.com). This is not the type of work I would have picked up off a shelf or internet browsing. I'm so very glad I was coaxed to read him though. I absolutely intend to further devour Caleb Ross' writing.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Nothing Personal on Feb. 26, 2012 : star star star star
An interesting assortment of short stories coming from a author who almost uses poetic prose, ambiguity and a vividly descriptive tone to pack the stories together. From the struggles of a young woman with the corpse of her dead sister engraved in her body, to families coping with loss ( death or separation), to the struggle of a perpetually depressed man against depression, to men warding off a devastating curse, to affections between a estranged father and a child and finally the familiarity and connectedness between two strangers meeting by chance, the stories deals with human emotions at its profound depth and ambiguity-- so deep that the emotions themselves sound matter of fact in the narrator's tone. Caleb creates a real atmosphere...albeit a touch eerie and strange and his language is powerful, packed with descriptive metaphors and strong held back tone. It is strongly recommended for people who like fresh prose at its ambiguous best.
I have used the word ambiguous a number of times, this is not to imply the author tries to confuse or is himself confused. Rather it deals with the counter intuitive and 'oxymoronish' nature of human emotions at its subtle range.
For those who are motivated by plot driven stories, this may not be your cup of tea..
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Nothing Personal on Feb. 26, 2012 : star star star star
An interesting assortment of short stories coming from a author who almost uses poetic prose, ambiguity and a vividly descriptive tone to pack the stories together. From the struggles of a young woman with the corpse of her dead sister engraved in her body, to families coping with loss ( death or separation), to the struggle of a perpetually depressed man against depression, to men warding off a devastating curse, to affections between a estranged father and a child and finally the familiarity and connectedness between two strangers meeting by chance, the stories deals with human emotions at its profound depth and ambiguity-- so deep that the emotions themselves sound matter of fact in the narrator's tone. Caleb creates a real atmosphere...albeit a touch eerie and strange and his language is powerful, packed with descriptive metaphors and strong held back tone. It is strongly recommended for people who like fresh prose at its ambiguous best.
I have used the word ambiguous a number of times, this is not to imply the author tries to confuse or is himself confused. Rather it deals with the counter intuitive and 'oxymoronish' nature of human emotions at its subtle range.
For those who are motivated by plot driven stories, this may not be your cup of tea..
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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