The Best Way to Relax

It is massive cold all over.  And here in Texas, we are feeling the misery just as well.  Abet not as deep freeze as many areas.  So how do you keep warm and cozy?  Myself it is a warm bath soaking with a great book and indulgent bath products.  

I had two of the best to team up with.  Mary Kay and Jerome Charyn are worlds apart for most.  For me they made a killer team.  I left the tub soft, relaxed and leaving the deep conflict of Abraham Lincoln.  First let me tell you that the Mary Kay are favorite products and belong to me.  Jerome's book "I Am Abraham" is on my keeper shelf (as all of Jerome's books are, yet it was sent to me for a review thanks to Tribute Books

Now on with the show as they say.  What do I tell you that you would not guess?  Well once again Jerome gives a voice to one who can not share on his own.  Reaching in and extracting the deep depression that plagued Lincoln then balancing this with the deep need to share with the love of Abe's life, Mary, this story is as deep as the crevices on his face.  You see the ghost that taunt the President as well as his wife.  Having lost children, tormented by the war that felt unending and turned into pawns by the political system, these two would cling to each other than break apart to roam the halls of the White House.  I loved feeling this confusion while seeing that what is good and true coming through by this leader.  Jerome Charyn winds us through Lincoln's accomplishments with a personal voice, a voice with a timbre of reality.

I Am Abraham Book Summary:
Narrated in Lincoln’s own voice, the tragicomic I Am Abraham promises to be the masterwork of Jerome Charyn’s remarkable career.

Since publishing his first novel in 1964, Jerome Charyn has established himself as one of the most inventive and prolific literary chroniclers of the American landscape. Here in I Am Abraham, Charyn returns with an unforgettable portrait of Lincoln and the Civil War. Narrated boldly in the first person, I Am Abraham effortlessly mixes humor with Shakespearean-like tragedy, in the process creating an achingly human portrait of our sixteenth President.

Tracing the historic arc of Lincoln's life from his picaresque days as a gangly young lawyer in Sangamon County, Illinois, through his improbable marriage to Kentucky belle Mary Todd, to his 1865 visit to war-shattered Richmond only days before his assassination, I Am Abraham hews closely to the familiar Lincoln saga. Charyn seamlessly braids historical figures such as Mrs. Keckley—the former slave, who became the First Lady's dressmaker and confidante—and the swaggering and almost treasonous General McClellan with a parade of fictional extras: wise-cracking knaves, conniving hangers-on, speculators, scheming Senators, and even patriotic whores.

We encounter the renegade Rebel soldiers who flanked the District in tattered uniforms and cardboard shoes, living in a no-man's-land between North and South; as well as the Northern deserters, young men all, with sunken, hollowed faces, sitting in the punishing sun, waiting for their rendezvous with the firing squad; and the black recruits, whom Lincoln’s own generals wanted to discard, but who play a pivotal role in winning the Civil War. At the center of this grand pageant is always Lincoln himself, clad in a green shawl, pacing the White House halls in the darkest hours of America’s bloodiest war.

Using biblically cadenced prose, cornpone nineteenth-century humor, and Lincoln’s own letters and speeches, Charyn concocts a profoundly moral but troubled commander in chief, whose relationship with his Ophelia-like wife and sons—Robert, Willie, and Tad—is explored with penetrating psychological insight and the utmost compassion. Seized by melancholy and imbued with an unfaltering sense of human worth, Charyn’s President Lincoln comes to vibrant, three-dimensional life in a haunting portrait we have rarely seen in historical fiction.
Jerome Charyn's Bio: 
Jerome Charyn is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him "one of the most important writers in American literature." New York Newsday hailed Charyn as "a contemporary American Balzac,"and the Los Angeles Times described him as "absolutely unique among American writers." Since the 1964 release of Charyn's first novel, Once Upon a Droshky, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture. Charyn was Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the American University of Paris until he left teaching in 2009. In addition to his writing and teaching, Charyn is a tournament table tennis player, once ranked in the top 10 percent of players in France. Noted novelist Don DeLillo called Charyn's book on table tennis, Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins, "The Sun Also Rises of ping-pong." Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.

Pop over to the I Am Abraham site to enter the $25 cash or Pay Pal giveaway or enter below.  You can pick up a copy for your kindle, hard cover or audio C D here.  And know without a doubt that I give this one my highest rating, a full coffee cup! 

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  1. You really gain an even deeper respect for Lincoln after reading Jerome's book. Don't you, Lenore? Thanks for the review. It's always fun sending a new title of his to your mailbox :)

  2. You know I have fallen in Love with Jerome's writing styles. His depth of characters and personal nuances always are spot on for me. Keep his works coming to me so I can sing his praises.


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