I've been a writer and author of fiction and poetry since 1969. A poetry chapbook and a poetry broadsheet appeared in 1975, followed by a short story collection (Fernandez Tale and Other Stories) in 1999 and a poetry collection (Seeing: Collected Poems, 1973-2000) in 2000. This year saw the publication of two books, "The Old Man and the Monkey" and "Grandfather and the Raven", both by Night Publishing (UK) and both set in Japan. I'm currently working on a novel ("Seiji") about a Tokyo artist.
Originally from Seattle, WA (US), my wife and I moved to Japan in early 2008.
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Smashwords book reviews by George Polley
- Saving Nathaniel
on Oct. 16, 2010
My attention was caught by the novel’s first sentences: “She was wet. She was cold. She was late.” With that opening, my attention was captivated. In my opinion, it is one of the most powerful, attention-grabbing openings I have ever read in fiction, and I read a lot of it.
Saving Nathaniel is enchanting and powerful storytelling, with characters that are real people, not clichéd cut-outs. The personal struggles Nathaniel and Megan have are ones that most of us can identify with because most of us have had them at one time or another. I certainly have. But it’s the skill of the story telling that kept me engaged, as in one exchange with Nathaniel where Megan “gave him a look so cold it would have made a penguin reach for a muffler.” It’s the kind of laugh-out-loud remark that makes this story such a richly human one. The author tells the story of Meg and Nathaniel with compassion and skill that draws you in and keeps you there long after you’ve finished the last page. This is a wonderfully wise book. Hopefully it is the first of many by this fine writer.
I can see Saving Nathaniel as a movie, with Helen Mirren in the role of Megan. It’s definitely one I’d watch more than once.
- Much Ado in Montana
on April 24, 2014
Characters: Tim, Tara, Jack, Becky, Tim’s father, Dr. Samuel Swanson, sleepy Campbell, Montana. What could possibly be interesting about this, especially for a died-in-the-wool city guy like me? Not much. Or so it might seem. But with these five characters, M. M. Justus’ “Much Ado in Montana” proved to be a very compelling read. I couldn’t put the darned thing down.
When newly minted doctor Tim Swanson arrives home for his father’s 75th birthday “for only a few days,” he’s in for some surprises. His dad want him to take over the clinic. What is he to do? He does, after all, have a job awaiting him at Seattle’s Harborview Medical, and he doesn’t want to spend his life as a doctor in the Podunk town where he was born and raised. After working so hard for his M.D., Campbell, Montana is not his dream. Until he finds his heart reawakened by his old love Tara, who seems to hate him.
There are two love stories here, plus one, the 5th being Tim’s reawakened love for Campbell and its people.
I like the way M.M. Justus tells a story, and I love her characters, every last one of them. They are real people, the kind that stick around in one’s memory for a long, long time, like old friends (even when they’re being a bit of a pain-in-the-butt). This may be the first of M.M. Justus’s novels I’ve read, but it won’t be the last.