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rank: 7266

Last week's position: 7300

first registered 12.01.12

last online 74 days ago

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about me

City of Refuge, my first novel, is a look at grief, how people cope with grief and how that can have long-term effects.

The story takes place in small town Oklahoma and spans nearly forty years in the life of the main character, James Matthews. In 1982, he is a typical ten year, dealing with an over protective mother, bullies and a world that is beginning to open up to his inquisitive mind. That is, until he is confronted with the accidental death of his beloved older brother, an event that is based upon my own brother's death when I was eight years old.

The first section is very traditional in its style, a novella unto itself.

The second section rejoins James ten years later. He is a college student who is beginning to be sceptical of everything his parents stand for and believe. The death of his eldest brother left him to be victimized by his other brother, a bully. His mother has become, at least superficially so, hyper-religious, his dad is lost in his work and his brother is now a family man. James sees nothing but hypocrisy in them all and, as a result, has spent years withdrawing from them and now is unable to have relationships of any depth or meaning. He spends his time wondering what if, alleviating his ennui with alcohol and sex, and, oh yeah, his job cleaning road kill from the state highway.

The second section is written as a series of seemingly unrelated short stories. They are less about narrative than they are about showing the devolpment of the psyches of the characters involved.

The third section rejoins James at 29 years old. He is older, but no more mature. He is married, but still living a life that revolves around seeking but not finding pleasure, ways to numb his soul. He is employed at the most mind numbing, soul depleting job in the world - a telemarketer for a multi-level marketing company. This section ends with James being confronted by a life beyond his own and sets him at a crossroad that leaves him precariously balanced between life and death.

This section will largely abandon traditional story telling and be more stream of conscious - a true look into the mind of the character.

The whole of the story is 'bookended' by James, now, looking back and trying to come to terms with who he is and the choices he has made in his life.

Along the way we will see the story of James' home town, Konawa, Oklahoma. A small town that, like the American Dream, has fallen upon hard times and is doing everything it can to survive.

favourite books

Look Homeward, Angel - Thomas Wolfe
Ulysses - James Joyce
The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoevsky
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
The Death of Ivan Ilyich - Leo Tolstory
The Nick Adams Stories - Ernest Hemingway

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my books

City of Refuge

Joe Brooks

Forty years of life shaped by death...and donkey basketball.

The dead began to speak to him, at first, each in turn, then in a riot of
cacophonous discord, calling to him as he passed. "Stop," they cried,
"consider me! Look upon me. Consider my life."

In 1981, James Matthews was a vibrant, inquisitive ten year old boy, just setting out to explore his tiny share of the universe in small town Oklahoma. When he loses his beloved older brother in a tragic accident at the local lake, he is set on a course for the next three decades that leaves him alone: separated from family, friends, even himself and denying the value of life itself. That is, until one day when he is finally confronted with the undeniable choice that forces him to choose between life and death.

City of Refuge chronicles one man’s life, beset by the walls and roadblocks of his own construction.


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tone099 wrote 39 days ago

My name is Peter Reich, special investigator to the Pope and former c....

EBUE wrote 204 days ago

hello my dear' my name is JULLIET EBUE ,i saw your profile....

Lara wrote 236 days ago

It's some time since I reviewed yr book. If you can't face looking at....

Charles Knightley wrote 315 days ago

Hi Joe Would you like to do a book read/comment swap? I like to re....

Kenneth Edward Lim wrote 357 days ago

Joe, You might want to click on www.scribd.com/dloganw whereby David....

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my comments


I wrote 493 days ago

Thanks, Wango! I'm not too concerned about the rankings. view book

I wrote 493 days ago

Thanks, Yo! I'm glad you are enjoying James' despair and ennui! :)~ view book

I wrote 567 days ago

Just a quick editorial comment - the last comment at the end of "The Yogi and the Scorpion" is attributed to Tourist #1 and I think it was meant to be said by Tourist #2 (at least it fits with that character's worldview). view book

I wrote 591 days ago

I really like this premise. I'm about 5 chapters in and it feels like Indy Jones meets The Da Vinci Code (but smarter)! I will read further and give you a more detailed review but, as of right now, I'm into it! Consider it on my watchlist and, if it lives up to its potential, it will be shelf bound.... view book

I wrote 600 days ago

Very cool collection. I especially like "The Hangman." Even with the death of a criminal, there is no justice for his victims. Shelved. view book

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