The nihilist, the dreamer, the eternally hopeful painter, I could go on but those are just some of the characters and I want or prefer to talk about what they have to say. Picking up this book, reading Prosthesis, you don’t have to know anything other than the fact that you love beautiful prose. Do you like Emerson? Do you get lost in metaphors, perhaps his famous essay called “Experience?” This book is an experience, its format unlike any other format, and the yes the prose, constantly shifting, and then shocking you, sometimes a lamentation, or a curiosity that is both like an epiphany and a probing so deep beneath the surface; it goes beyond the edge of acceptable into where we all go when we are, yes, sick. When we are, yes, suffering. “Everything is heightened, invested with significance and a frantic energy” as “JustMe42” says at one point about mania or hypomania, but really very rarely are her characters frantic, are any of her characters written frantically. No, they are written care, their lives and observations so visceral. This beautiful experimental memoir about the author, Ariana D. Den Bleyker’s, lifelong battle with Bipolar Disorder will move you, if you are anything like me, really, if you are anything like a reader and want to read a really good book.
~ Katherine MacCue
Using the format of a blog forum called “Building Hope Blog” Prothesis shares an online community responding to posts from JustMe42. Each member of the forum shares snippets of personal information while providing support for others in their struggle against Bipolar Disorder. There is a great of deal wisdom to be found in these pages. AliveKickn says “Those of us who’ve felt the darkness appreciate the little things so much more.” BiPolarGirl78 says, “Falling apart gives you the opportunity to put yourself back together, like a phoenix from the ashes. You may never be quite the same, but that’s okay. Even in the dark, you’ve been quietly blooming and learning.”
There is an emotional immediacy in Prosthesis that makes the reader feel as if he or she is participating in the online community, cheering for the characters. Each section displays the masthead of the blog, drawing the reader in visually as well. This book offers hope to those suffering and insight to those hoping to understand.
This title will abaolutely ensnare you. The format is ingenious and breaks boundaries regarding the ‘memoir’ genre. Den Bleyker shares an intensely personal tale in a captivating way, never afraid to be honest in regards to a subject so often avoided. Brilliant, beautiful, and heart-wrenching– worth is in every word, and this publication is worth your every penny.
Finger : Knuckle : Palm:
Review by Steven Stam can be found here.
Review by Paul Edward Costa on Entropy can be found here.
A very lovely review of Forgetting Aesop by Mary Stone, writer and editor of Stone Highway Review can be found here.
The Trees are on Fire:
“I’d say that The Trees Are On Fire, the new collection of poems by Ariana Den Bleyker, is lush, and that would be an apt description. But what I really mean to say, in addition to the lushness and generosity of language in this volume, is that it is ripe.
Ripe, like the proverbial peach, or an heirloom tomato almost-soft, or whatever ripe thing turns you on the most. Ripe like these lines
just leaks out of my pant legs:
… We fell asleep waiting to be buried at dawn.
Late that night, the sky was a fortress.
Throughout the world,
in everyone’s closet:
A favorite sweater,
A tailored suit.
Letters from old lovers
waiting to be found.
from “A Thought on a Backyard Trampoline.” Or ripe questions like these, from the title poem:
If the trees are indeed on fire, then why
does the sky only expose itself for the stars?
And if it’s a long way through the wilderness?
If the schoolyards are full of dying oaks?
Reading these poems is like finding yourself, unexpectedly, traveling in a dense jungle of words–fragrant, heady, intoxicating. Ripe. You’ll want to pick the poems, hoard them for yourself, sneak off and taste them, slowly, savoring each.”
~ Marian Kent, author of Responsive Pleading.