Thursday, June 9, 2011

This Book Will Change Your Life - The Mimic's Own Voice by Tom Williams.

Work. Travel. Read. More read. And The Mimic's Own Voice by Tom Williams. There were moments when we weren't sure we had the words we wanted to describe this book. Did we enjoy it? Yes. Wholly absorbed. Immersed. And wanting to know more about this fictional mimic and his gift for voice, his rise to fame and his demise, no not demise necessarily, but when a celebrity crashes back to Earth, undone by their own limitations, confusions or rejection, it is a sort of demise, right, it is. And when we throw issues of race into the discussion, what it means to be an artist and even threads on mental health, maybe, what we have is a story packed with contemporary themes integrated into what is almost historical, even sociological, in voice, or is that setting, and yes it's story, but there is an academic voice here as well. It's almost a study at times, survey or assessment, a cataloging of humor and craft, a history even, but fictional, sort of, all of it, a world that you believe exists, could exist, did exist, may have existed, and clearly actively does in the vibrant and rich imagination of Tom Williams. There is also the voice, William's voice if you will, which makes the book something else as well, a reflection maybe, some kind of observation or commentary on what it means to be an artist of color in changing world where a lack of color still holds sway, but may, will, not, for much longer. We're not entirely sure of this though, it is speculation, and we don't want to overstate or understate anything, much less forget, again, that there is story here, a story both moving and intriguing. So, please do read it, breathe it in, have it change your life, and please do pause if you will during the scene where the protagonist Douglas Myles is forced to confront his purported rival King David Blum on national television, a scene that reverberates, pulsates really, with William's energy and brio. Beautiful that.

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