Reviews - What do customers think about Parcheesi Blues?
A Pleasant Suprise Dec 1, 2007
A friend recommended this book - he even went so far as to mail me a copy, so it seemed only right to give it a chance. I'm glad I did.
In its design Parcheesi Blues would seem to owe a great deal to James Joyce's Ulysses: set on a single day in a second-tier city (Memphis and Dublin, respectively) this novel follows several characters through their daily journeys. Sometimes, as in the novel's first chapter, those lives overlap. At other times the characters are alone, and we eavesdrop on their hopes and memories.
Parcheesi Blues is like Ulysses in another way, as well: as readers we must humble ourselves a bit before we enter. But the reasons for that humbling are very different. Ulysses is a difficult book that requires huge effort on the part of the reader - there are great rewards there, but you need to set aside your ego and be willing to do some work outside the margins.
Don't worry, though: Parcheesi Blues is as reader-friendly as a literary novel can be. The language is plain, the chapters short, and the momentum palpable. After all, the single day on which Parcheesi Blues is set is Elvis Presley's birthday. This book owes as much to the pop spirit of The King as it does to Joyce's high Modernism.
Still, this isn't John Grisham's pop Memphis - lawyers, big cases, corruption, and a shadowy world of improbable criminals. In fact, Parcheesi Blues could easily have been titled Haunting John Grisham. If anything, it is the Memphis of Jim Jarmusch's film Mystery Train. These are characters on the fringe, even of their respective sub-cultures, characters many readers would be wary of - or actively avoid - in the real world. If we noticed them at all. Beltzer's Memphis is a world of failed and forgotten artists, of men who see things that aren't there, of strippers, thieves, eccentrics, squatters, and - above all - people who are paying the price of holding beliefs that are out of favor. So, when we enter Parcheesi Blues, we must set aside some of our assumptions and take in these people on their own terms - an act that, hopefully, will spill over into our own daily lives.
I have avoided giving too much detail about the story itself because I want to preserve as many of this book's wonderful surprises as possible. There are conspiracies and cover-ups, moments of embarrassment and humiliation (with some small triumphs), philosophies, delusions, some hand-rolled cigarettes, lots of lousy coffee, a fair amount of music, and more than a little plain old humanness.
It's all Parcheesi My Neesi Jun 13, 2007
Never have I felt so removed and so close to home at the same time. Parcheesi Blues brought my interest for good literature back to life. The characters are easy and fun to identify with, and their stories are well described. This novel is a great escape and is also something to reflect on with our own lives. It's all parcheesi my neesi