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Posted January 18, 2010
L.M. Ross has become one of my favorite authors. His descriptive style and captivating story line(s) make it impossible to put this book down. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of his works.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 1, 2008
As an operatic performer I¿m reminded of one of my favorite vocalist, Marian Anderson, the great African-American Contralto who during a 1935 performance at the Salzburg Festival not only solidified herself as a worldwide recognized artist, but drew the attention of the great Italian Conductor, Arturo Toscanini, who told her, ¿A voice like yours is heard only once in a hundred years.¿ Remembering this story and quote provides the basis with which I measure L.M Ross. The man has an adeptness that endues his essence right down to his very DNA and it reeks of divine creativity. I can¿t remember the first time I encountered the man, the poet, the lover, the friend it may have been early 2004 but from that moment my world was completely shook as I found myself bowing before this entity that reflected everything I desired to be as a poet and writer. I have read a couple of reviews in which many readers proclaim Ross as the `New Baldwin¿ in reference to the literary and psychological genius of James Baldwin however, I beg to differ. While it is indeed the greatest of blessings and honor to be mentioned in the same breath or heartbeat as one of America¿s most prolific scribes I must say that author/poet L.M. Ross has managed to create from the ground up a caliber that is innately his own, that hasn¿t been seen or will most likely ever be seen again. Where does one start with critiquing ¿Manhood: The Longest Moan¿ without sounding tiresomely redundant or too verbose? Let me start by saying first hand that I am not the oratorical sage or sorcerer of the written and spoken word as Ross, whom I affectionately refer to as `Dad,¿ but I offer my own version of written insight and accolade for this Griot. ¿Manhood: The Longest Moan¿ is at once full of a deeply ingrained pathos and searing insight that can be best described as multi-hued. This book reads in rich colors, divergent hues that come together to give birth to heretofore unknown and indescribable colors that seduces the mind and the emotions invoking whatever aforementioned griot desires that one feels in that specific moment. Ross is a master at touching, emoting and presenting reality! Not the `behind-rose-colored-glasses,¿ `Hollywood/celluloid¿ reality, but the `down-n-dirty,¿ `nitty-gritty¿ reality of life in such topics as AIDS, Psychological and Sexual Abuse, Sexual Deviance, Identity and Relationships. What keeps this novel from becoming just another black novel is found in the way he¿s able to take what some might call a lewd or vicious act and pull out the depressed beauty and poetry of it so that even in the sexual scenes or the criminal escapades of some of the characters there is a rich poetic~ness that softens the harshness without compromising the truth. This novel is a rich painting of the lives of four young men: David `Davey¿ Richmond, Pascal `Face¿ Depina, Faison `Browny¿ Brown and Tyrone `Ty¿ Hunter and their progression into manhood¿in cold-cut simplicity here is a direct reflection of the manifold evolution that takes place in all of our lives. It is the story of the manifold struggles, hurts, pains, joys, and confusion that stain each life and how each person adapts to whatever the situation (s) may be. It is worth noting the superior way in which Ross defines each character. His prose, his language reads as pure improvisational jazz complete with tacets and sections that are moderato, lento, and vivace. One reviewer likened his entire novel to a concerto for orchestra and the same can be applied not only to Ross¿s writing, but the way each character, like sections of a concerto or acts of an opera, were given the space and time for complete exploration, definition, growth and clarity the chance to live, breathe and introduce themselves. Out of all the characters written I most identify with Tyrone Hunter. Hunter is a myriad of psychological and emotional living. He lives within himself, he lives within each moment¿reaWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 27, 2007
A Concerto for Orchestra is the term for symphonic works in which each is given space and spotlight to shine as soloist. In L.M. Ross' novel, MANHOOD: The Longest Moan, the orchestra is reduced to a quartet of friends and while Ross weaves the individual stories of each man's life of choices, moments of triumph and slides of misfortune, each character is so well defined that the spotlight must move with each chapter for that solo moment. Ross is one amazing writer, a poet who can move with ease into the area of storytelling and yet maintain the allure of brush stroke images too often found only in the terse poem form. He writes about the African American experience in New York City as well as any writer today, and brings all the juices and aromas and flavors of the idiosyncratic language of black conversation without missing a beat, and more importantly, without alienating his reader with a foreign language, so well molded is his conversational technique. MANHOOD brings to life four men over a twenty tear period, beginning with the high school years when the four artistic lads formed a group 'Da Elixir' ('Once there was this gorgeous, gorgeous time when we were all living our dreams..') only to have the group splinter as each pursued his own dream. Tyrone become a writer always seeking true love, David is a natural dancer whose career in ballet is broken with his fractured leg, Browny longs to be an opera singer but is sidetracked by drugs and prison, and Pascal 'Face' Depina is a genetically perfect handsome man whose talent is tied to his looks and betrays the darker aspect of his personality. Through flash-forwards and flashbacks Ross takes us into the souls and libidos of each of these men, revealing intricacies of friendship, relationships, coping with both success and failure, confronting the spectre of AIDS and the brutality of homophobia, all the while writing some of the more erotic episodes ever written. Ross' ability to relate the spectrum of sexual liaisons without creating an X-rated novel is due to his innate ability to find the poetry in all that he describes. His gifts as a wordsmith can be found on almost every page: 'I've no skin-memory of the texture of my father's arms wrapped around me' 'Tyrone watched that inarticulate language of pain race across Browny's face. He saw how his fingers were entwined as if clutched in a useless prayer' 'He wanted to be noticed, and once he was, he grew to hate it. He wanted to be loved, yet held disdain for those who tried like hell to love him. He wanted to know pleasure, yet he seemed to almost enjoy inflicting pain' and the long blue moan is 'the penetrating sound of sex and sadness, sin and surrender. Ty listened, and it seemed that angry, lonely people cried out of that horn'. Much of what Ross writes about is sexual encounters between African American men and the desire coupled with confusion about that need that they create. Yes, the erotic portions of the book are intensely sensuous and explore areas other writers have feared to tread. But this novel is far more than a book about lust: this is a finely hewn tome about finding the core of life and living it. In Ty's words, 'Snatch JOY! Snatch respect! Just snatch it any way you can. With your fist, with your lips, with your heart, with your example', and as with so many of the eloquent passages in this book, many are sadly recited as eulogies. Ross examines life's circle in this quartet of men, and it is a work a poetic beauty that should make the literary world take notice. For 416 pages (not the short 288 pages the advertisement states) L.M. Ross grabs us and holds us as his willing hostages. Let's hope there are more books coming down the pipeline! Grady HarpWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 29, 2007
Manhood: The Longest Moan had me up until the wee hours. This book is dynamite, pure TNT! So good that I almost passed out. I knew I was in the hands of a talented writer. I fell quickly and totally under the spell of this remarkable, wry and fully realized story. The true-to-life, plentiful dialogue honestly details the family and relationship concerns that almost any reader would identify with. Ross¿ settings are richly painted and his characters believable. Ross writes so beautifully about relationships, living and dying, and love, it¿s hard not to audibly gasp with both pleasure and shock. And he fills it with so much compassion and writes with such skill that one cannot be fascinated. L.M. Ross is among the foremost gifted, vigorous, and original novelists of our time. His novel, Manhood: The Longest Moan, is as shapely as Henry James and far outdoes Nabokov in erotic realism. Ross is a great new voice in American literature. It¿s impossible to deny the magic of his prose. Life is full of guilty pleasures. Manhood turns out to be one of them.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 9, 2007
This book is a wonderfully tantalizing meal of literary gourmet delight. At first taste the provocative favors of complex characters immediately rush in to grip your attention. Then there is a gradual build of spicy sweetness that tickles your taste buds as the descriptive and colorful language invite you for another bite. As you partaken of the cuisine you notice the deep of the play between character flavor, this makes you want to savior every mouthful and resign to remember this dish as pick on days of monotony. Then you are of aware all the things not present not said absent adding valve to the balance of story line and menu selection. Finally you¿re satisfied with after taste lingering in your palet wanting more dining events such as this. Sealed with a kiss of profound understanding, and life lessons that inspirers many compliments to the chef and a quiet hunger of wonder waiting to see what other culinary delight his hand can craft.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 3, 2007
This book is an outstanding ride into the depths of human nature. From every page to fantastic page, it will leave you haunted and craving for more. L.M. Ross has captured the best and worst of all of us in his memorable and explosive characters. Every printed page will leave its mark and change the readers perception of what it is to rise above personal tragedies and find life.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 21, 2007
Posted April 18, 2007
L.M. Ross is indeed an exceptional and a prolific author! This book is profound...penetrating the depths of the soul...grasping, tugging at, and touching every emotion...real, raw, revealing, and human!! I read it...absorbed it's value and meaning...and 'got' it!...Definitely a 'must read!'Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 19, 2007
I've read the book twice just to get a double dose of 'Sheer Joy'. This author L.M.Ross is an Exceptional Writer. I've Never read a more Compelling,Raw,Sexual & just plain Great book in my entire life. I didn't want to book the book down for a minute. It makes you want to read more & more. It pulls at your Heartstrings. This Book is a 'MUST READ'. You will definately learn something from reading this book. I did.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.