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Discontents: A Protest Novel Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Length: 208 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Details

  • File Size: 743 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publication Date: December 15, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005IC6EDM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,905,115 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

James Wallace Birch is an award-winning author of short fiction. He has published a number of articles in newspapers and journals. Discontents is his debut novel. James is a twenty-something from Northern Virginia (NoVa), outside our nation's capital.

James is best known for publishing the controversial full-length book entitled Discontents. Discontents is about the disappearance of James's old high school friend, Emory Walden, a subversive and notorious graffiti artist who became a counter-culture icon and was hunted by the U.S. Government.

James runs - the official site of Discontents where you can learn more about how Discontents came to be published. You can also find there the original letter Emory sent James, which is discussed in the letter to the reader James wrote at the beginning of Discontents. James lives alone in the DC metro area. His favorite musical artist is Emancipator. He enjoys, among other things, craft beer, coffee, and Castile soap.

James online:

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Top Customer Reviews

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I really liked Discontents. The writing is excellent, and it satisfied from the start. But about 30 pages in, magic happened. You've read books that introduce interesting characters, an interesting world, but then the story begins to flounder and go nowhere through the middle, but instead of bogging down Discontents hit the golden gear at this point--all of a sudden, the characters were real for me, and I wanted to turn the pages and spend more time with them. Then on top of that, a plot kicked in that I hadn't seen coming, and I was hooked in. I love these kinds of stories that slip under your skin, take you on a surprising journey and then warm your soul with bittersweet truth.

The only down side after reading this book was that I don't see another work immediately available from Birch. And I can't imagine him writing another one this good--he's clearly got the talent and the chops, but heck, what's left to say after a novel that plumbs so many depths of life so thoroughly, so well? It just feels like he dumped his soul into this one. He's got a tough task topping Discontents, and I hope he's working on the follow up, and I hope he keeps surprising and exceeding expectations like he did with each chapter of Discontents. This one's well worth your'll stay with you after you've read the final page.
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The novel begins on the premise that the author (Birch) received a letter from a former high school friend/underground political activist (Emory Walden) who disappeared in early 2011. In the letter, Walden asks the Birch to publish the details of his story outside traditional publishing circles to ensure the integrity of the story.

Back in the US after a stint in Europe, Walden learns about the impact his political blog is having among a contingent of angry citizens in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse. While attempting to reestablish himself in the US, Walden crosses paths with retired marketing executive (Fletcher Spivey) who expresses interest in harnessing Walden's voice and energy to push his reawakened ideologies after keeping them dormant for decades as he built a massive corporate machine. The story that follows is a fast-paced political thriller that tracks Walden through the many turns (sometimes with jarring affect) in his relationship with Spivey et al as they attempt to spark change in an increasingly volatile fringe citizenry. Acting as a covert operative attempting to amass a following of discontents, Walden becomes increasingly paranoid that his operation with Spivey has been infiltrated and he finds himself racing against time to determine the true nature of several of his key relationships.

Discontents is a solid debut from author James Wallace Birch. By using witty dialogue, well-crafted prose and constantly stoking the coals of unsettled relationships and motivations, Birch maintains a consistent level of traction with the reader enabling a near effortless ability to engage the material.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I love the concept, the writing, the subject matter, the anti-genre, the author's a super-nice guy too! If you liked The Blair Witch Project or House of Leaves, then you'll love this book. He has a great buy-in - my friend gave me this manuscript to self-publish so expect some errors (there are only a handful) but it makes the premise of the 'real' story of Emory Walden come to life. You just have to swallow the 'red pill' and read this story.
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During the Labor Day Book Blowout, sponsored by Independent Book Collective (IBC), I discovered and purchased DISCONTENTS, written by author James Wallace Birch. The "Legal Stuff" posted at the front of the book mystified me: Were the great many notices presented on this page issued out of fear . . . or did they mirror the paranoia of the story's protagonist? With some trepidation, I finally proceeded to read the published version of Emory Walden's ordeal.

The eras covered in Emory's story are twofold, presented in a seamless blending of the politically sizzling 1960s and the current, high-tension situations in which Emory Walden becomes enmeshed. Entertaining and action-filled, often edged with the paranoia and fear reflected in the opening disclaimers, the book held my attention with its effortless transitions between vital backstory and unfolding "news-at-five" style present.

Sometimes it is the unexpected, tightly-written phrases utilized by an author to "show, not tell" that add power to a novel. Shortly into DISCONTENTS, I realized protagonist Emory Walden would not be receiving his fair share of respect anytime soon. As a steakhouse hostess watches the "half-sober backpacker" that is Emory enter the restaurant, Emory interprets her reaction: ". . . she gave me her disappointment with a shift of her weight." As I experienced the waitress's reaction of disapproval through the eyes of the protagonist, I developed empathy for Emory that carried through to the story's end, granting credence to the story and offering me, the reader, investment in the outcome.

That empathy was put to the test, though.
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