BOOK: In the Midst Of

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Posted by C. M. Barons on June 13, 2008 at 21:00:49:

Title- In the Midst Of
Author- C. M. Barons
Format- trade paperback
Size- 274 pgs
Publisher- New Age World Publishing
ISBN- 978-1-59405-098-5/1594050988
Genre- Fiction, Adult
Publication date- April 2008
Price- $16.95 USD

“Reality,” he once told me, “is the invention of memory.” The enigma of Daniel Hollis: he survived childhood huddled in an imaginary world; his adolescence, sleepwalking. After two decades of abstinence, he was hungry. No point going back; nothing substantive remained. He had fortified a deception. There was only illusion.

Sticker price on a 1975 Corvette was $6,550. A bag of Columbian: $30. In the Midst Of features a barefaced ensemble of true-to-age characters. Brian connects with an offbeat mentor cum older brother named Hollis in a lopsided relationship. Hollis moves on, but Brian will not let go. He clings to a myth perpetuated by dependency and self-denial. The 1970s was an era of global hang-time; the 60s pendulum had swung as far as the silent majority would allow. Poised to back swing, the repercussions were unclear. The shock value of the previous decade had been commercialized. Like pre-faded jeans: off-the-rack and ready-to-wear. “How’s your love life?” “Try it... You’ll like it!” ...Couldn’t raise the eyebrows of the Tidy-Bowl man. The nation was in transition, post Watergate-pre AIDS. The war was over, and Disco was an urban anomaly. Americans shimmied into hip-huggers, submitted to analysis and shucked inhibitions. Suburban cool: Naugahyde living room set, Tiki-lit backyard and coveting the neighbor’s spouse. ...Cocaine for your groove and a doobie to unwind. What distinguishes In the Midst Of? Barons’ characters are not trite icons typically enlisted to resemble the 70s. Brian, et al, leap beyond stereotypes; video verite, spurred by downright, gut-metered dialogue. The backdrop is unaffected, a Kodacolor © snapshot- definitive 70s. The era pretends to be a character, à la Grand Central Terminal, too epic for the label: train station. Brian and his friends’ lives play out, guided by elements more onerous than the clockworks of society and politics. They are ensconced on a college campus. Co-ed dorms, uni-sex fashion; lines obscured by casual, experimental encounters. Edge-lurking has always been fashionable. Hollis dangles by his fingertips. Beneath his public facade lies a disturbing void. His multiple secrets are protected by an ambiguity that passes for cool. His inner sanctum is Brian’s obsession; a fixation that yields a mirror with a chilling reflection. Hollis is the aim- as clear as the bull’s eye emblazoned on any Zen-archer’s target.

“That’s not my parlance; for lack of better term, yes, I have one.” He led me into the hall, digging in his pocket for a key ring. I wasn’t eager; I’d rather postpone disassembly of the person I thought I knew.
He removed his shoes, importing I do likewise. “I keep it locked because the floor is white. …Don’t want dirt tracked in.” The lights came on; it was exactly as Angie described it.

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