I’m finally catching up on reviews, and thank goodness I’ve got my book bug back. I’m back to that lovely point where there’s no way I’d even attempt sleep without first reading. That’s why I’ve opened back up to receiving review requests and they’re already coming in thick and fast.
I’m going back to a book I finished in November last year. I managed to type out a quick Amazon review and that was about all I had time to do. To be frank and fair to the book my review Amazon review didn’t really do the title justice, so I figured I’d give it a overhaul for here.
Conversations Among Ruins is a portrait of a descent into madness, and the potential of finding salvation there. While in detox, Daniel Stavros, a young professor, meets and falls in love with the cryptic Mimi Dexter. But Mimi has secrets … and, strangely, a tattoo identical to the pendant Daniel’s mother gave him right before she died. Drawn together by broken pasts, they pursue a twisted, tempestuous romance. When it ends, a deteriorating Stavros seeks refuge at a mountain cabin where a series of surreal experiences bring him face to face with something he’s avoided all his life: himself. Miles away, Mimi’s actions run oddly parallel to Daniel’s. Will either be redeemed, or will both careen toward self-destruction?
Conversations Among Ruins is primarily about Daniel Stavros, an alcoholic professor who meets and falls in love with the beautiful and mysterious Mimi Dexter whilst in rehab.
The entire thing is heartbreaking. You want to shake Stavros and tell him to get a grip of himself, it’s like watching a person ebb away. However, on the other hand, you can feel his pain so strongly from the page that you wish to soothe him and tell him everything is going to be all right. It’s such a tumultuous relationship between him and the reader that it makes for a difficult read in the emotional sense.
Mimi is also struggling with her own personal demons, and making an attempt to come to terms with them. I think that Stavros is so invested in their relationship and puts a lot of pressure on her to ‘save’ him. The problem is that he has to save himself.
The writing is nothing but stellar. Peters is smooth, his style is easy to read and yet the prose is lyrically clever. His scene setting is utter perfection, he leaves little to the imagination without droning on. He transports you to each place with the ease of a true pro.
That’s not to say that it’s all doom and gloom though. This writer has a knack for making you laugh in the most harrowing of situations. I laughed out loud several times and received a few dodgy looks from those in my presence at the time.
This book knocked me so out of my comfort zone that I struggled with how I wanted to react to it when I finished. This is clearly a novel about an alcoholics journey, but it’s so much more than that. Just as I started to get a little more comfortable, the whole thing turned on its head in a way you’d NEVER see coming. Peter’s knocked it out of the ballpark and excelled in such a way that I can only compare Conversations Among Ruins with something penned by Tarantino. It’s not that it comes out of nowhere either, the author leads you in on a path that ends up at Weirdsville, but once you arrive it all feels somehow, well…right.
If you’re looking for a book to truly connect with and churn up some emotion then this is undoubtedly the read for you.
It’s without deliberation that I award Conversation Among Ruins an easy five creepy houses, it’s up to you to find out why ;):
Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.to/1phAi7v
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1oASGcG
Barnes & Noble Nook: http://bit.ly/1t6Q31L
All Things That Matter Press Paperback: http://bit.ly/1rBiB1e
About the author:
Dual diagnosed* from an early age, Matthew Peters dropped out of high school at sixteen. He went on to obtain an A.A., a B.A. from Vassar College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University. He has taught various courses in a variety of disciplines throughout North Carolina. He is committed to increasing the awareness and understanding of the dual-diagnosed. Conversations Among Ruins is his first novel. His second novel, The Brothers’ Keepers, is available on Amazon.com. *The term “dual diagnosed” refers to someone who suffers from a mood disorder (e.g., depression) and chemical dependency.