Thanks to Lichen Craig for his fabulous review of Jeff Mann’s new novel, Purgatory.
A Review of Purgatory by Jeff Mann
Kindle Edition, Published 2012 by Bear Bones Books
Review by Lichen Craig
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: Five Stars
A five-star review should be hard-earned, in order for it to carry weight. A really brilliant piece of literature displays the writer’s ability to perform a few acrobatic feats – this requires a real understanding of the technical aspects of writing. If a writer can do this, and do it in a unique fashion, the book will be inspiring, not merely a good read. With “Purgatory”, Jeff Mann has offered up a gourmet feast of a book for the discerning reader, the hopeful historian, the language-loving fellow writer, and certainly for this picky reviewer.
“Purgatory” is a story of and within the worst campaigns of the Civil War. It is a literary novel in the true sense, not a romance – the romance in the book, while central to the story and consistently engaging, is only a tool by which the author discusses deeper meaning about the human experience. …
Jeff Mann’s insightful, moving story tells the story of the hearts of the men who watched their farms and fields burn and their heritage disappear into ashes. …
Jeff Mann is a writer’s writer: he was first a poet, and it shows. The book is relayed in a first person, present tense narrative mode – something little attempted in modern literature, and terribly effective when so expertly done. It lends a sense of immediacy and intimacy that, combined with the author’s extensive use of historical detail, pulls the reader into the filthy, tired, poverty-stricken last days of a too-long war. Mann’s command of language is complete: it is luxurious but never overly-sentimental. …
Ultimately, “Purgatory”, like the best of books, is about all of us – about the demons within ourselves of which we are ashamed, about loneliness and the terror of isolation, about a world that often presents unimaginable cruelties and how we each must decide how brave we are going to be – and what we will give up for the freedom to love.
And of course, our congratulations to Jeff!