Days of Grace
eBook (PDF), 518 Pages
DAYS OF GRACE tells the story of Ian Johns, a bleary and depressed thirty-one-year-old “professional student,” who, in the throes of an early-life crisis brought on by his mother’s untimely death from cancer, quits law school after surviving the rigors of its proverbially arduous first year to become an itinerant without a plan. With a voice and sensibility that can be likened to Lethem, Sedaris, Coupland and Kerouac, the book is unabashedly picaresque and Neo-Beat, written in a roman à clef and journalistic style which has been described as “modified stream-of-consciousness.” It is at times dark and bittersweet but is relentlessly tinged with bright-sharp edges of humor. As we go forward with Ian on his travels and go back into the near-past to sit at his mother’s deathbed in his childhood home, viewing the world through his admittedly cracked prism, we come away having learned something universal about ourselves, Y2K America and maybe... More > even mortality itself.< Less
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Oct 15, 2009"Grace Indeed" So there’s a mess of noise out there in the literary world. Lots and lots of books that are fueled by similar whisperings from the same muse. This makes a book like Austinite Mark Falkin’s Days of Grace so fascinating, because while it draws from that same pool, it's written as something completely unique in its expression. The story follows a fellow named Ian Johns as he ostensibly quits (abandons, really) his life as a 31 year-old law student who has never really had to live in the working world, in exchange for a life of random whim from inside the confines of his car, out on the highways and in the cities of the Midwest. He gives in to rudderless wanderlust. The apparent reason for Ian’s unhinging is the loss of his mother to cancer, but really, it’s pretty obvious that he’s bored with his forever-student track in life, his lame relationship, and the general two-dimensional nature of his life to date. Something had to give. The character is obviously too... More > intelligent to be so rut-stuck, he just needed a push. His mother’s passing was but one straw amongst many. The beginning of the book, where Ian starts to lose his shit, is engaging. Perhaps too much emphasis is put on the “rigors” of first-year law school, which few readers would be able to relate to. It will, however, give the average reader good reason to doubt the sincerity and possibly even build a distaste for the type of person Ian starts out as. He’s a whining, obnoxiously self-aware guy who can’t stop crying about how hard it is to be so privileged yet so ambitionless (lazy). Beyond his passion for weeping about his passionless life, he has no passions of which to speak. Just a gun. From there, he develops a strong disregard for his existence (not suicidal, because that would require that he cared about something), and sets out on a blind walkabout of sorts to discover something, anything, about his life or whatever else he might be able to hang his hat on. He hits the open road with a map, but no particular destination. As expected, he meets many strange characters, holds a handful of rather odd jobs, and learns to subsist on little more than his constantly-running internal monologue. Importantly, he periodically stays with friends from his past, which really helps him to put his own existence into proper perspective. Mainly, he realizes that he has little to no feeling for the vast majority of the people he’s known. For one reason or another, he simply never connected to them, and that it has to be linked to his passionless existence. Really, he was fortunate to have known any of them at all, considering how little they mattered to him. Some he openly loathed, but actually considered friends until meeting them again on his journey, where EVERYTHING was being re-weighed in his mind. Amidst these travels, the reader is thrown around within a thought-bubble of streaming (not stream-of) consciousness, heavy in extended-prose. Falkin enjoys employing multiple paragraphs to describe single seconds of Ian’s experiences, emotional wanderings, and impressions. Initially, this feels arduous to push through, but it eventually becomes evident that all the thick descriptions and extended passages are meant as a molasses-fast yardstick to measure the drastic changes for Ian as a person, as he sees himself, existence, and how he fits into the entire puzzle. Whether he actually finds his peace by the end of the book should not concern the reader, only that by the final few pages it becomes pleasantly obvious that he’s decided to start looking. And that the gun no longer looms over him as it did at the start.< Less
Feb 23, 2006"Days of Grace Nominated for National Literary Award" February 22, 2006 “Girl,” the writer/reviewer at POD-dy Mouth, a bookish blog profiled in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, LA Times and Publishers Lunch, has nominated Austin writer Mark Falkin for a Needle Award in the literary category for his novel “Days of Grace.” His book is on the short list of 5 nominees out of 1,400 books submitted in 2005. The winner will be determined by the handful of judges culled from major literary agencies and publishers.
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- Standard Copyright License
- Mark Falkin
- September 30, 2011
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- 2.37 MB
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