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Gears a Collection

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Gears a Collection Cover

ISBN13: 9780984009329
ISBN10: 0984009329
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the author of the brilliant debut novella Short Lean Cuts comes this highly anticipated comprehensive collection of 70 short stories, poems, and art. In his first collection, Pruteanu delivers a series of fictitious “cogs” which grind together and move forward with the momentum and impact of a speeding freight train. Reminiscent of Kafka and Camus and even the great Russian novelists, Pruteanu displays that rarest ability to create believable and entertaining allegory, while at the same time deftly omitting crucial elements, allowing the reader to interpret his or her own meaning. The result is a series of machinations on love and death, oppression and adversity, identity and purpose; in effect, the machine strips away our options–and the world opens up.

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David Atkinson, March 30, 2013 (view all comments by David Atkinson)
I've rarely seen a collection that demonstrates all that an author can do quite as comprehensively as this one does. Fiction, poetry, and all things in between in all different shapes and sizes. There is such an incredible variety in this book, and all of it quite good. Whatever you are looking for, Pruteanu has done it and it is in here. And, while you're there for that, you'll get led by the linkages to other cogs that you didn't even know you wanted to find. It's really a marvelous collection.
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MJ Robinson, March 27, 2013 (view all comments by MJ Robinson)
The first Alex M. Pruteanu story I ever read was “The Sun Eaters.” It had been published elsewhere, but my first encounter with it happened at the social networking/writing website, Fictionaut. In reading all 700-some-odd words of it, I could feel my brain folding and unfolding, rearranging itself with every word, as it was all new to me, all the more devastating. I knew from word one that I was reading the real shit, the good stuff. In my world, “the real shit” is defined as writing that possesses such a profundity, such inherent poetry and the unshakable sense of truth that the person reading it feels not the strain the writer endured to write it, not the struggle of the words to find their right places, but the story’s vibrations through all of time, the endless forthcoming relevance of the words.

Pruteanu, a Romanian emigrant, has been generous enough to share several of his stories on Fictionaut, and I have read many of them. He is widely published elsewhere, in print, on some of the biggest literary websites as well as the farthest reaches of the internet. But when I learned he would be publishing upwards of 80 stories in a collection, I knew exactly where approximately fifteen dollars of my hard-earned money would be going in the near future. Widely published as he is, it can be hard to keep up, plus, he’s modest in his author bios, opting not to supply a long laundry list of places where his work has appeared. Prior to his collection being released, I’d maybe read 20 of his stories and poems. But a collection, when done right, brings new life to the words. (Also, paper is still superior to glowing screens.) Lo, the day came where I could purchase his book, and after a SNAFU with the USPS (“Wankers,” Pruteanu would call them), I had the book.

Physically, GEARS is a small brick: 372 pages, 1.4 pounds. You could put it through a plateglass window, with a strong windup. The cover is glossy, grey, beautiful. The design is simple, elegant, and homemade (Pruteanu’s wife, Teresa, based the design on a DaVinci sketch). In other words, it feels like a book.

Emotionally, however, GEARS is a ten-ton truck exploding down a slick, steep highway with no brakes. One story after the next leaves you battered like roadkill. The exact kind of roadkill you want to be: profoundly affected roadkill. Roadkill that may heal, but will never be the same. He tells tales, some autobiographical, of the oppressive communist regime of Romania that, from mid- to late-20th century, killed, tortured and intimidated millions of people. Any great number of Romanian intellectuals, artists, writers vanished from the face of the earth. Homes were bugged; family members pitted against each other by the state. Extreme, unfathomable poverty befell the nation. Al-jazeera even made a documentary about the Romanian secret police, The Securitate. In these stories Pruteanu, in both a timely and timeless manner, provides intimate, often terrifying gazes into what it was like to live in that world, in that time. It is not easy reading, in fact, at times, it’s downright excruciating, the pain you feel for Romanians of this era, for humanity to have this on its conscience.

Though, as the collection progresses, you begin to see through the eyes of characters who escaped these atrocities, in the outside world: Europe, Canada, driving through the United States, perpetual disenchantment notwithstanding their histories. By the end, the trek from Romania to the southern United States lives in your bones. It’s you, now. (P.S., Not sure when I switched to second person, but all right.)

The thing about GEARS that I can’t get over is how perfectly-arranged the stories (yes, some are poems, but even the poems tell stories) are. Each leads into the next seamlessly, and interruptions in tone or style are done so elegantly that the shock of the transition is absorbed in its own greatness. The importance of these stories are self-evident, and the arrangement of them only further confirms that the machine is churning on all cylinders. I trust the author to guide me from one to the next world he’s created. And what wonderfully, albeit frighteningly, well-drawn worlds they are.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780984009329
Author:
Pruteanu, Alex M
Publisher:
Independent Talent Group, Inc.
Author:
Pruteanu, Alex M.
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1
Publication Date:
January, 2013
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
388
Dimensions:
8 x 5.2 x 1 inches
Age Level:
For mature audiences

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Small Press » Fiction and Prose

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