Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Book Review: Cypress Lake by Joe Basara

Title: Cypress Lake
Author: Joe Basara
Publisher: CreateSpace
ISBN: 1453636528
Available through:

When Owen Cloud sees Tina, he's immediately smitten with her. Imagining her as his Venus de Milo, he spends much of his time daydreaming about her. Owen's fantasies don't stop there. He often finds his mind drifting off into flights of fancy not only during his orderly shifts at a local hospital but also during the off hours. As Owen moves from fascination to fascination to personal loss, he discovers that sometimes the person he really needs in his life is the one right under his nose.

Cypress Lake is just a little too slow to start off for my tastes & I'm just afraid that some readers might not be willing to put forth the effort to read through to the resolution. Also, while Basara does do a decent job of establishing that Owen is a Mittyesque character, at times Owen's visions are just a little too abstract to come across as clearly as some readers might desire. The imagery does become a little easier to read as the book progresses, however. Readers might also be thrown by the often usage of names such as Dr. T. Ali Hassee & Rosetta Stone, not knowing if those are the characters' true names or names Owen assigned them in a flight of fancy. In this aspect the book might just be too surreal for some.

That's not to say that there aren't some strong points to the book. Basara does a fine job of painting his portrait of the late 1970s, an era where the idea of free love was beginning to wane & what the mentalities of the 1980s would become start to creep in. He also does a good job of portraying the lack of depth to Owen's crushes on Tina & Nikki, foretelling what will ultimately become of his affections for either girl.

It's just that in the end this book just didn't appeal to me overall. Perhaps it might be just my personal preference, but I do think that this book will only really be appreciated by a niche readership of people into the surreal & abstract or perhaps by people more familiar with the era. For those readers I recommend this book. For everyone else, this might not be the right fit.

(Reader copy provided by author)

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