- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Posted January 15, 2006
Great memoir to read even if you don't know the subject
Even if you don't know who Lewis Turco is, the prose and narration of his Fantaseers: A Book of Memories is a worthwhile, enjoyable read. His autobiography of growing up in Meriden, CT, during the 1940s and 1950s, is a collection of just plain good tales that any lover of autobiography will enjoy. If you do know something about him, and you believe in legacy, then the book is all that plus Turco's reflections on how his upbringing and ancestry came to bear on who he is. The book is a quick but dense 135 pages. While so perceptive and engaging, it is also a treat, if not an indulgence, in well-crafted writing. Turco's style and diction are precise, showing his skill as poet without being pedantic, terse, or pretentious. The cast of characters and the order of some events can get confusing, due to the fact that some of the stories were written and published separately. At times, the gap between what is written and what is assumed of the reader can get impassable for those unfamiliar with Turco. These flaws are long forgiven when you finish reading. In each story the words read so effortlessly as to betray the skill with which they were put together. In 'The Mutable Past,' for example, Turco speaks of '...getting up early - who knows why? - and hanging around the street while [his] slugabed friends kept their dreams alive.' That passage and the rest of the story that follows speak much more than meets the eye about what dreams are and how the early bird gets those worms. The book starts with a quick tour around the town in which he grew up, introducing you to some of the characters and places you will visit later. This introduction ends with a bittersweet image of the loss of childhood that you will carry for the rest of the book. From here Turco takes you on a spin through his youth that introduces you to his friends, enemies, parents, relatives, teachers, encounters with mysterious neighbors, and a telling review of his ancestry. These stories are just as enjoyable for those who reminisce for those days as they are enlightening for those who wonder what they were like. Each story has a theme that ranges from the epistemological (as in the already mentioned, 'The Mutable Past') to the telling of a moral fable ('Ray'), to an examination of how he came into the world and chose his path in it ('Mom May' and 'Father and Son'). The book ends in Turco's mid-twenties, before he starts his career as a teacher and gains his reputation as a poet. But much is answered by then for those who know his work, or know him personally, including his views on religion, a bit of politics, and lastly the explanation of his penchant for puns, which I will leave for you to discover by reading the volume yourself.
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.