The Madmen Among Us ● From a wanderer who finds a rope hanging from the clear desert sky to a man who is sure he’ll discover happiness in counting all the world’s beans to beautiful gardens that hold an invisible lover or a deserted boulevard where the smoky smell of revolution lingers, enjoy the unique voice of Victor David Sandiego as he takes the reader over mountains and across sands to find an elusive spirit guide or kicked-off shoes on the hotel floor. Part prose, part poetry, these works alternately seethe and celebrate with their fantastic detail and a mythology that is allied with the divine and at the same time grounded in the footsteps of cultural outcasts who search for a deeper meaning of life among the stones and sidewalks of the city streets.
39 Boys on Ground ● Enter the darkly humorous, insightful, surreal and brutally honest worlds of boys as they climb from the hollows of their youth into the world of men. On their way to an imperfect redemption, and with a determined spirit of compassion, these 39 boys and those who at times narrate their stories for them must pass through the formidable shadows of deprivation and war with only an intensely lyrical and allegorical lamp to light the way.
Victor David Sandiego’s The Strange and Beautiful Life of Daniel Raskovich, an imagined biography of an odd everyman character, is darkly funny and strangely poignant. Sandiego offers a frank take on contemporary society with verse that is clean, clear and direct, and tantalizing enough to keep us wanting more. Episode after bizarre episode leaves the reader feeling off-balance, hopping on one leg (the good one) like Daniel, but perhaps this is the precise vantage one needs to view our lives more candidly. The starkly lovely, sometimes mysterious, graphical images throughout from photographer Ethan Hahn provide visual texture and figurative subtext to the Raskovich tale. As alarming or reassuring as it may seem, Sandiego’s collection reveals that there is a little bit or quite a lot of Daniel in every one of us. - Lana Hechtman Ayers, series editor, author of A New Red