'Harry And Ivory' stands on my bookshelf (Lulu.com) alongside my Steinbeck and Hemingway. Aalborg writes in such a way it is almost as if you were sitting across the porch from him, swapping sips of a bottle of moonshine and listening to him tell you about Harry and his obsession, the black as night Ivory.
This is a literary classic waiting to be discovered. The relationships it explores are as dysfunctional as they come but they are very real and very believable. If the reader was honest with themselves, they would admit they have had their own moments of indecision and personal torment, deciding between what is right and what is good for them, what they should do and what they want to do above everything else they have ever done.
'Harry And Ivory' flows. Each line, each page just flows along, bubbling under the reader in such a way they want to know what happens next, they must know. It is really a feel good story, told well and with heart.
I think Kurt's review is a tad harsh. I do believe any spelling errors have been corrected since Kurt read the work as I didn't find anything jarring in my reading. I also think he took some of his 'howlers' out of context. That tired door was resting on a sandhill as the house was underground, or dug out of the hill, so resting is a fair description. He uses commas appropriately so the helicopter isn't beaming, it is the person who rushes to it. As for the sand coloured eyebrows and what have you, perhaps her teenage eyes are sharper than yours, Kurt?
I did notice on Kurt's page his bio has a couple of syntax errors of its own, perhaps English is not Kurt's first language? Either way, people in glass houses and all that. I do agree that eBooks should be taken as seriously as printed versions and that we can all benefit from some proof reading and professional editing but not everyone can afford those services, especially when they give their work away for free.
As for the story, I felt it was a nice piece for the intended audience, besotted teenage girls. It could be enlarged and make a more plausible story, add more details and so on but it is what it is and that is fine.
An interesting piece that could easily be the introduction to a much longer story. I found some of the prose a little abrupt, short sentences one after the other and so on. I also confess to missing the point a bit as Franziska seemed to arrive on scene rather abruptly and while her boyfriend from the ship was mentioned, there was no explanation as to why he was no longer a factor. It gave young Franziska and her wanton advances a kind of 'sluttishness' she probably didn't deserve. I have to say I was taken by surprise at the change in the story from a pleasant migrant's memoir to something a little more salacious.
Overall it started out as a bit 'What I Did On My Summer Vacation' like and ended a few ratings along with an MA kind of feel to it. I wouldn't class it as erotica but I wouldn't know what to class it as. I think if Kurt takes out the last half and keeps that for something else, then expands the first part, perhaps including why they left Europe, what happened on the boat, what happened after they settled in and so on it would make a worthwhile addition to the migrant ouerve.
Some of the voice and tone is a little formal, at least at first but that is explained by the fact the narrator is not a native speaker. His grasp of English is excellent and very readable and combined with the insight of the migrant coming from another culture as well as what Australia was like 50 years ago makes interesting reading and a book that would be worth putting a fair price on. Why not try that, Kurt? I'd buy a copy.
BTW I arrived here with my family in 1971 when I was 9 so I can relate to the migrant experiences Kurt describes in his piece. Perry Gamsby
I think Kurt has grokked the flash fiction piece totally and expresses it well in this essay. I will be emailing him to ask permission to use his essay in my lecture on flash fiction to my 'Become A Published Author' course students. I think it will be both explanatory and expository and thus, create some healthy debate as to what exactly makes a good flash fiction piece.
Perry Gamsby MA(Writing)
I think this collection is where the reader will start to see the true value of this author. His anecdotal memories from his arrival in Australia flow well and build up a nice picture of a young migrant adapting to his new land. Then he segues into some interesting essays that focus on the characters rather than the deeds, such as George the scone maker and the more tragic yet proud Big John. I found The Masked Transformer among all the stories to be the most intriguing and very well constructed. It had a distinctive style and voice and kept me reading, trying to fathom what it was all about and enjoying every line. Well done Kurt.
All up, a great selection of work, well worth reading.
Perry Gamsby MA(Writing)
I didn't find this scary. I did find it to be very well written and absorbing. There is the element of good versus evil but for me it was not scary. Or was it? Maybe as a writer and educator I was paying too much attention to the writing and not the story itself. It was very much a can't put down story, always a sign of good, tight writing and excellent story construction. It made me want to know what it was all about and put it in some kind of context. I have read it twice now and will no doubt read it again. I will also be advising my 'Become A Published Author Course participants to read it alongside some other great stuff by some better known writers, but not necessarily better writers!
Perry Gamsby MA(Writing)
For 99 cents you can't go wrong. I have been publishing on Smashwords almost as long as Graham and even though I know everything (just ask my wife, she'll tell you)there were some new things to glean from this helpful report. As someone already publishing on Smashwords it validated what I was doing , which means for someone contemplating this route it will set you on the right path to begin with and save a lot of wasted time and effort.
I think everyone who publishes here should invest the 99 cents and the time to read this book (less than half an hour or so)as the returns will far outweigh the expense.
I have reviewed my marketing strategy, partly because of this book and 'FREE!' and Murray's guide to publishing on Smashwords. I guess i suspected all along that many of the review I have read were faked. I just didn't connect how that could adversely affect my book sales. A must read for everyone who has anything to do with books, writing or reading them.