Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Flashes and Specks

Author: Mark Pogodzinski
Publisher: No Frills Press
IBSN: 9780578047119

"Listen, my friend, there are two races of beings. The masses teeming and happy --common clay, if you like --eating, breeding, working, counting their pennies; people who just live; ordinary people; people you can't imagine dead. And then there are the others --the noble ones, the heroes. The ones you can quite well imagine lying shot, pale and tragic; one minute triumphant with a guard of honor, and the next being marched away between two gendarmes." ~Jean Anouilh

Just in time for the Christmas holiday season comes a story of comfort and joy, guess again. Even if the book "Flashes and Specks" takes place close to Christmas it is far from being a holiday classic.

"Flashes and Specks" begins at the funeral breakfast for a troubled young man, Carter, who decided to try once more to end the anguish he was suffering. Carter was the cousin of Henry Kent, who is the main character of the book. Let me try and sum up the life as Henry knows it. When Carter was still alive they were comic book buffs. In reading them they found that characters, although you wanted them to stay the same, changed as their writers changed. In the present time he is a 8th grade Math teacher who hopes he is shaping young lives as he teaches his formulas and solutions. Henry's wife has left him with no word as to why and even if she plans on coming back, he is hopeful she will. He has seen his father go through the same situation and his mother, after a time, returned home. He has a young son, Arthur, who takes random pictures of people and adds them to the "city" he has made out of milk cartons and a vast amount of imagination, in the basement of their home. Playing in the background of Henry's life are the rumors of nuclear bombs and of World War III, as seen on news reports and heard of the radio. Even his teaching mentor is having delusions of having the exact date of the end of the world by using random numbers in a secret formula he has developed.

This book will lure the reader into the psyche of a man who craves for a hero to fix things and make the villains go away. On the surface Henry seemingly lives a normal ordinary life, but underneath its really full of complex relationships and circumstances that are out of his control. The book is a fast read and I recommend it to adults who want to read a present day story that shows how life can get in the way of real life. But I would not recommend reading it during the holidays!