Publisher: Cyberwit.net (September 1, 2020)
Library Binding: 208 pages
ISBN-10 : 9390202671
ISBN-13 : 978-9390202676
The BookViral Review:
Highly enjoyable, clever and wholly original, A Robert Levin Reader proves a fine read with its eclectic combination of short stories, cutting commentary and dialogues on Jazz.
One of the criticisms often levelled at short story anthologies is that it’s hard to lose oneself in the succinctness of such short works, but Levin easily turns brevity to his advantage and the enjoyment of his readers.
Avoiding the pitfalls of flat and prescriptive dialogue, he confidently captures the essence of his characters which in turn makes unfolding events all the more poignant. With taut prose he’s mastered the art of expanding upon a given moment, holding his characters and events up to scrutiny then moving on. There’s no wanton dallying, each of his stories punches above its word count without being overstated and there’s a powerful sense of familiarity to each one.
But Levin gives us much more than 13 short stories and with commentaries like Everything’s Alright In The Middle East, Proving God By Consensus and Why Utopia Will Forever Elude us we are granted a unique perspective on an extraordinary mind.
“I don’t know what man-made horrors await the planet in the coming years. I do know they’ll be impervious to history and abundant and that the unacceptability of death will be at their root,” is how Levin ends his latter commentary with each of his commentaries sure to elicit serious reflection.
Finally, Levin turns his thoughts to Jazz. Unapologetically blunt with plenty of vintage material on which to draw he has wonderful behind the scenes tales to share. Not only recalling events and feelings but delivering them in a tone and voice that is engaging and rich with detail.
An all-round superb read from an intellectually cutting mind A Robert Levin Reader is recommended without reservation.