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Friday, November 28, 2008

The Memorist, by M.J. Rose

If your idea of good, intellectually-stimulating entertainment is a book that will engage all of your sense and carry you over into a plot/story with real characters easy to understand and associate with, then "The Memorist" by M.J. Rose is the book you need to read right now. While I didn't read "The Reincarnationist" (her earlier volume), I had no problem understanding the main theme of the novel. Instead of retelling the story here, I'd like to highlight the most impressive aspects of M.J. Rose's masterful artistry. Reincarnation and the seemingly cosmic channels that spirits often travel are all intertwined into a fascinatingly excellently written book. The protagonist, Meer Logan, experiences a confusing sense of "cogito ergo sum," in the sense of the real meaning of the Decartes' idea: how do I know that I am awake, that I am not dreaming this, have I lived this before(?), and the sort of "I don't understand where all these memories are coming from..." that sort of thing.

At the bottom of all this, is one of my favorite composers: Ludwig Van Beethoven. As a cellist and classically trained musician, this aspect of the book kept me riveted until the very end. I think this was possibly the most masterful part of the plot; Rose weaves this historical detail into a fascinating and personal narrative--the reader can very much identify with the young protagonist's struggle to make sense of all of this. Enter Malachi Samuel (I believe he's part of "The Reincarnationist," but I can't corroborate this) and a neck break search for a mysterious "magic flute" that when played, awakens memories of past lives on the listener, and the plot masterfully converts itself into a sort of cloak-and-dagger search through the most beautiful (and musically inspiring) cities of Europe (Vienna, Pasohlavsky), and subconscious travel stretches to the depth of pre-Ancient India. An underground "reincarnationist" society is also an intricate detail of the story that brings to mind Umberto Eco's fascinating storytelling of secret societies in "Foucault's Pendulum." Small erroneous details such as Beethoven's living quarters being on a sixth floor of a building in pre-1850s Vienna (Beethoven died in 1827, there were no building taller than four levels high before the late 1850s in Vienna, or so I was informed by a historian friend) are easily overlooked (and that's just because some "silly" people--like me--research stuff like this, etc.).

M.J. Rose's "The Memorist" is a masterfully woven and intellectually satisfying book. It will entertain, no doubt, and keep you at the edge of your seat. I recommend it without reserve.

FREE GIVE AWAYS: I have TWO copies of "The Memorist," and TWO paperback copies of "The Reincarnationist" to give away RIGHT NOW. First two emails to jcr3008@gmail.com WIN!

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