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Tubaistic oomph-ahs resonate over Stone's use of the accidentally submerged flashlight in the beginning of Bay of Souls, the author's seventh novel, and five years since his previous outing with Damascus Gate. It is labeled as “the unstressed implications of lost light, lost gods, lost youth”(1) to the premonition that the “spiritual lamp will be doused”(2) over the soul of Michael Ahearn, the protagonist walking into the cliché of adventures usually associated with a melancholy professor from the “absurd provincial backwaters of the academy”(Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0395963494, 1st Trade Edition, 1st printing, c.200, p.40) when he tries vitalizing to re-discovered directions, fresh landscapes, and the adrenaline pump of an extra-marital affair with “the hottest babe in the history of the state”(p.46). Trudging further sounds wearisome, but this is Robert Stone, one of the few declared literati with enough illumination to pass the pedagogic cobwebs and trendy detritus for the malleated, dull sheen of gullied and tarred-over bottomlands in the American experience.
In fact, if this wasn't such an obvious mainstream outing, Bay of Souls would sit proudly on my Best Of Fantasist Literature list. Bread crumbs be damned. Join this masterful perturbation.
Whatayda ‘fraid of?
Losin' your soul, or finding it?