Listening to Dust, by Brandon Shire
A thought provoking study of human nature –
Story Burb: Murder touched Stephen Dobbins when he was a young boy and left him living in a void of aching loneliness. A chance meeting with a young American chased away the fear that he would always be alone and brought him the prospect of a new existence.
Dustin Earl joined the military and escaped his small town Southern upbringing with the hope that he could give his mentally challenged brother a better life. But Dustin had never known real love, an honest hug, or a simple kiss. He considered his sexuality a weakness; a threat that had been used against those he cared about.
For eight months their relationship blossomed until Dustin suddenly returned home. He cherished Stephen, but felt his responsibilities to his brother outweighed his own chance at happiness.
Shattered, unable to function and unwilling to accept Dustin’s departure, Stephen flew three thousand miles to get Dustin back and rekindle what they had. But what he would learn when he got there… he could never have imagined.
Review by Gerry Burnie
“Listening to Dust” by Brandon Shire [TPG Books, 2012] is not a book to tackle if you’re feeling depressed. It is both raw and uncompromising, and it is sure to evoke a gut response from most readers. Nevertheless, it is a thought provoking read and well worth the investment.
The story focuses on a chance meeting between two men with complex and troubled backgrounds, and who find solace in a similarly complex relationship. There is nothing particularly romantic about this affair, and yet it is entirely credible. Relationships do not run smooth, especially same-sex relationships when the public decides to get involved (directly or indirectly), and particularly if that public happens to be the closed minds of a backwater town.
Shire delves into all these aspects with an unrelenting frankness that defies political correctness, i.e. a “drunk” for a father, a “druggy” for a mother, and a “dummy” brother. Yet any other language would have seemed pale in context.
I liked the character development of Stephen and Dusty, and the unexpected twists in their tenuous relationship. On the other hand, I wasn’t quite convinced with Robbie’s character (his language, I think), and there were a few times when I got lost by the changing narration. But, otherwise this is a well-written exploration of human nature, both the good and the profane. Four bees.
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Two announcements regarding my upcoming novel
I announced last week that I would be publishing my new novel as a two-part series. This is because it was starting to get too long for today’s market. I am therefore in the process of rewriting Part 1 to make it a stand-alone story. This is going quite well, and I am roughly a third of the way into it. (Possible finish date – July).
The second announcement has to do with a new title. I have decided that Coming of Age on the Trail, while descriptive, is just too cumbersome. By and large, shorter titles have more impact, and so the new title will reflect this. I will announce it the final decision has been made.
Lucas was recently featured on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Next” series, part of a high-profile project created by the CBC Radio 2 program In Concert in which promising young classical musicians reveal their artistry.
Click here to listen, and please pass it on.
If you would like to learn more about any of my books, or to order copies, click on the specific cover below. Two Irish Lads and Nor All Thy Tears are available in both Kindle and Nook formats. Publisher’s price, $4.95.