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Art Rosch was raised in the suburbs of St. Louis. He attended Western Reserve and Wayne State University, but wasn't much of a student. He worked through his teens and twenties as a jazz and blues drummer. He met a girl who liked poets, so he became a poet. He found that he was attracted to the writing more than to the girl. He began exploring the novel form in the late seventies and wrote his first novel around '77. It was terrible.
In 1969 Art moved to the San Francisco area. His first sale was to Playboy Magazine in '78. The story won "Best Story Of the Year" and he enjoyed fifteen minutes of fame. Since then he's been doing what most writers do: collecting bales of rejections and honing his craft. He has published in EXQUISITE CORPSE, TRUCKIN', SHUTTERBUG, POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY and, yes, CAT FANCY. Art loves science fiction and fantasy and much of his writing is inspired by the work of Philip K. Dick and Jack Vance. He teaches courses in amateur astronomy and photography through local parks and recreation centers.
on April 23, 2016 :
This book follows Aaron Kantro and his family from the depths of childhood abuse to the clear hindsight of adulthood. The compellingly addictive story takes Aaron and his siblings through the depths of hell to even darker places and along the way they learn just what they are truly capable of.
It is a powerful story written by an author able to capture the emotional honesty of his protagonists. I wanted to hate the monsters, but understanding why they were the way they were, simply made me pity them and want to weep for the children who would bear the scars for their inability to with evil. Told as chronology, it was easy to stay connected to the individual characters. As each new date showed at the beginning of the chapter, I would hope that Sarah was finally chasing down her demons; That Aaron would find a way to listen to his inner angel; Cringe at what Mark and Mari-lee would be about to do next. My heart broke for Max, a product of his age, thrown into a seething chaos that no human being should have to endure.
The story is character driven and the characters are not short on story. Each person who glances through the various lives of the Kantro family probably could have supported an entire novel just on their back-stories alone. I laughed and I wanted to cry. Somehow the human spirit with its need to create beauty will try to find a way to survive but not all those who have travel in darkness will manage to find the light.
This is a brilliant story with multiple layers. It makes me want to explore other books by Arthur Rosch. This was definitely worth the price of the download.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on April 02, 2016 :
A Review of Confessions Of An Honest Man
The first chapter of this book is hilarious. Three musicians huddle on the floor of a car while a gun fight rages in the parking lot of a Detroit night club. Trust me, it's funny. The next chapter flashes back ten years and we meet one of those musicians. He's a nine year old boy named Aaron Kantro. He's one of those sensitive, artistic children whose home life is a nightmare. Aaron loves music. When he's tested for musical aptitude his score is off the charts. Clearly this child has promise. His mother opposes his ambition to become a musician. She regards creativity as useless. She's obsessed with status and money. She's crazy with this obsession, so crazy that her behavior crosses the line into abuse. The Kantro family is dysfunctional to a degree that would, today, provoke intervention. But in 1960 this kind of thing was private family business.
Where's the father? Where's Max Kantro? He's at work, of course. He's a sweet man but he doesn't know what's going on at home until it's too late. He's a workaholic, laboring at the delicatessen while his kids are being put through hell.
This book opens up all the closets where the skeletons are hidden. It's painfully honest. If I didn't care about the characters there would be no pain. Aaron's plight, his struggle to capture his dream against all odds is the dominant theme of the novel. This story shows us the damage that is done when children are abused. Fortunately, Arthur Rosch has a great sense of humor and he knows when to introduce comic relief. One of the pivotal characters of the book is Aaron's mentor. He's a successful jazz musician named Zoot Prestige. He's like a Zen master; he maintains his poise in all kinds of situations, and, believe me, there are plenty of strange situations to be encountered in the jazz life. You don't have to be a jazz fan to enjoy this book. I think it's an important book. It should be required reading for anyone in the field of family dynamics because it reveals how things are connected in the psychology of children who are victims of violence. And it still manages to be funny. Five stars!
(review of free book)