MacLeish Sq.
by Dennis Must
Red Hen Press

"At that moment we saw walking toward us a trio of bearded men in black robes mumbling to themselves what I inferred was the liturgy of The White Whale."

As he approaches the age of seventy—the final trimester of his life—memories of John Proctor’s childhood draw him back to the hometown he could not wait to leave when he was eighteen. He buys a small farmhouse on the outskirts of town, which he repairs and paints, and settles in for the next phase of his life—a life of solitude if he has his way. He also repairs and adds windows to a large shed in the yard and transforms it into his personal retreat. Two years after moving in, John is startled to see a young man staring at him through one of those windows. His name is Eli, and he claims that John, through a set of strange circumstances, is his father.

The story alternates from reality to fantasy, and it is not always clear which a person is reading. Nonetheless, the story pulls one in and keeps the reader turning the pages. John and Eli are both intriguing, complicated characters, particularly Eli. He weaves fantastic stories of his previous life and the unusual characters that live there. The author’s prose is as lyrical and absorbing as the tale. It is peppered with references to the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville and unfolds one layer at a time. Intricate pencil illustrations by Russ Spitkovsky add yet another layer to the telling of this intriguing story. Fans of psychological novels will find this one enchanting. It will likely be a satisfying read for those who enjoy losing themselves in a mystical, spiritual, Faulkneresque story, complete with a surprising ending.

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