“As Though Through Glass” by Amy Madden Taylor (2017)- Book Review


as-thru

AMY MADDEN TAYLOR’S quiet confessional style, full of acutely realized images of life, freezes individual moments like photographs.
This book is the dissection of a compelling but uncomfortable relationship. We are invited to examine closely the characters of her protagonists, and I feel the urge to reach out and rescue the woman from her compulsive attraction to this charismatic, capricious and selfish man who will never be hers on the same terms that she is his. She is possessed by him in a way that she can never possess him and we have to watch, almost peering through our fingers as this sensitive young woman goes through all the torments of love, and doubt, and loss that will be familiar to many of us, but which are here expressed with a clear and breathless eloquence few of us can hope to equal.
Amy Madden Taylor’s writing avoids all of the common pitfalls of poetry. There is no pretention and no artifice. The feel is organic, immediate and unflinching. For every Amy Madden Taylor there are dozens of other would-be poets trying to ride the tail of some perceived literary trend to success, but this writer maintains her unique voice with integrity throughout. This book will make you laugh, and cry, and gasp, and sigh along with the events and leave a lasting impression of a consuming passion, the “two-ness of one, the one-ness of two” played out against the uncompromising backdrop of life-on-the-edge in New York.
Whenever I read anything by Amy Madden Taylor I am drawn into a sense of stillness to fully appreciate all I am reading. I need to take a deep breath and focus my mind, as if for meditation. The words need to be savoured, the visions fully realized to appreciate the delicacy and light modern grace of this masterful poetic narrative.

 As Though Through Glass by Amy Madden Taylor is available here
https://fancy.com/things/1365971878153294561/As-Though-Through-Glass?utm=seller_shop
 and at the Strand Bookstore, New York , (Broadway at 12th Street), with availability for mail order at Strandbooks.com  Strandbooks.com has just restocked. Get your copy now!

Book Review : “Scars” by Amy Madden Taylor (2015 Belpid Books)


Scars Amy Madden Taylor 2015 Belpid Books
Scars – Amazon
“Described as ‘nostalgic, dark and enchanting’, Scars is a unique narrative-in-verse from an accomplished fiction and essay writer. It is the story of a year in the life of a fictional family in the 1960’s told through a series of poems ‘written’ by the 15-year-old poet-daughter, Hope. Madden’s themes of loss, betrayal, and family role reversals are ingrained in the text; we begin to recognize the voice of each of the family members, as the narrator relates the events of a dark year in their lives. The scars are literal, figurative and emotional. They form a sort of bond of intimacy which binds these characters beneath family tragedy and dysfunction. Deceptively simple in presentation, Scars is clever, unpretentious and moving.”

I’ve been a fan of Amy Madden Taylor’s writing for almost three years. The first time I read her blog I was blown away. It can be found at Writerless – My So Called Blog)

Her keen sense of observation and the economy of her vision slices through the layers of bullshit with which we pad-out our world. Her reality has sharp corners and hard knocks, but it also has a deep sense of patience, compassion and humanity.
I moved on from her blog and read her “Young Adult” novel “Losing My Accent” ( Losing My Accent -Amazon )

Amy Madden Taylor is seriously one of the best writers, living or dead, that I have read in my entire life. She writes how I would like to write, but I will never have that level of skill.

Turning to her new book “Scars”.
The reader gets a fascinating insight into what it was like to be growing up in a dysfunctional family in the 1960s.

Hope, the protagonist writes her narrative as a series of poems minutely invoking intense evocative sketches from childhood. As the adult world washes over the adolescent siblings, each has their own story. I can’t give away too much, but I must urge you strongly to read this book.

It is an extraordinary accomplishment, I’ve never before seen a story told in such a unique way and there is so much there; little triggers which will set you laughing and crying and remembering how it was when everything was still a wonder in the world.

Don’t be put off by the description “poetic narrative”
These days people seem rather frightened by contemporary verse, but this is very far from the “Emperor’s New Clothes”, self-indulgent vanities of the trust-fund urbanite seeking street cred validation. This book is pared to the essence. It hits hard and caresses just as earnestly. You can take what you want from it. It’s like a slide show, some are portraits and some are landscapes, but all are studded with memories; words and phrases you will remember long after you have finished the book.

Please buy this. It is available as a limited paperback edition or else as a Kindle Book from all the usual sources. I would be fascinated to see reviews from other people. I know my take will be different to how others view it. 

91mSNFTueLL._SL1500_

 

Amy Madden is a professional musician, in the New York Blues Hall of Fame and is a regular on the Rock & Blues circuit in that city where she plays solo shows and as bass guitarist for a number of bands, notably with long time Johnny Winter collaborator Jon Paris; R&R Hall of Famer, ex- Blackheart Ricky Byrd, and  backing the extraordinary and amazing Alan Merrill, formerly of Vodka Collins, Arrows, Runner, Meat Loaf and Derringer, famous for having been the writer and original artist of the monster hit song “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”