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Detailed Book Review
   
   
   
Gulf         
Gulf
By Brock Adams
ISBN: 978-1-929763-44-3
Price: $14.95
Shipping: $4.00
        
Nominated for the PEN Faulkner Award.

The short story collection Gulf refers not only to the physical meaning of the word-- several of the stories take place on or near the Gulf of Mexico-- but also on the metaphysical meaning, focusing on the human ability-- or lack thereof-- to bridge the psychological gulfs, and to find emotional healing. Three major currents run through the lives of the characters in Gulf; difficulties in relationships, struggles with identity, and a sense of being haunted by the unexplained.

Gulf is also available as an ebook on Amazon.com for the Kindle.

        
Book Review Details:
        
Reviewed Appeared In: News Herald 2 (Panama City, FL)
Reviewed By: Lindsey Bailey Kafonek
Text Of Review: ‘Gulf’: Panama City native pens collection of short stories

Brock Adams no longer lives in his hometown of Panama City, but his first short-story collection, "Gulf," revisits pieces from his past.

Adams, 27, is an English professor at the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg, S.C. "Gulf" recently was published by Pocol Press.

Adams will return to Panama City in June, appearing at the Bay County Public Library for excerpt readings from his collection of short stories and a for book signing.

To describe this collection of stories, Adams said, 'Gulf' can be looked as the sum total of my experiences growing up all the way until grad school when I completed the stories."

The entire work is full of his memories that deal with a lot of realistic places and people from his past but remains fiction with magical realism.

Adams said even though his characters might start out as someone he knew in real life, they always end up taking a life of their own, quickly transforming into a fiction.

"My stories are grounded in reality but have fantastic things happening in them. I like stories where everything is real, but there is something in it that is fantastic," Adams said.

Delving into the first story, "Burn," readers immediately will engage into a theme that embraces absurd and weird happenings. There is a sense of light horror with a suspenseful nature that keeps the reader swiftly moving from page to page, wondering what will become of the character in its final stages.

Writers who come to mind when reading some stories by Adams are Edgar Allen Poe or Steven King, because of the dramatic plot that continues to gnaw at the reader with a thrilling tension, growing as they read.

Not only does his work grab the reader through its content, but Adams also has a way of writing stories with such graphically vivid imagery that depicts each moment as if one was there.

He develops each character's psyche leaving them searching or possibly finding a solution, in a quest to bridge their psychological gulf.

Or, he can take an inanimate object such as a Campbell soup can, place it as the focal point in a story, attracting even an Italian editor's attention overseas.

Barrel house in Italy also published "Gulf," in Italian, but under the name, "Campbell's Soup."

Adams said, "I try to read a lot of stuff and different styles to create my own voice and not try to just copy someone else."

When he first started writing, such authors who inspired him were in the canon of Southern literature; William Faulkner and Flannery O'Conner, for example.

Adams now has acquired a taste for the work of minimalists; following writers such as Raymond Carver and Ernest Hemingway. He is venturing into the introductory phases of his first novel he will begin this summer.

Adams and his wife, Jill Adams, have a mutual goal to visit every continent. Australia is first on the list. A year from this winter, they plan to take a tour from Argentina to Antarctica. Both English professors, they desire to explore for new meat to enrich their imagination with and produce great stories.

Contrary to Adams, his wife writes in the genre of non-fiction memoirs and personal essays.

"We like to critique each other's writings, it's helpful to collaborate together as writers," Adams said.

Everyone is invited to attend the presentation of Adams' work at 2 p.m. June 13 at the Bay County Public Library; light refreshments will be served. Meet this new author and hear his work read aloud to see how his dreams and imaginations make his work breathe life.
Date Reviewed: April 25, 2010
Link To Web Site:    
Author Appearances: June 13 - Bay County Public Library, Panama City, FL
Contact Author: Email Author

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