- File Size: 2720 KB
- Print Length: 69 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Cricket international (September 27, 2016)
- Publication Date: September 27, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01M0ACPNV
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,339 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Car: a sonnet sequence with illustrations Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Within a framework any subject, emotion and message can be filled. In this case its all things auto, and through 28 sonnets Stuart Larner explore the human condition – all in terms of the mechanical components of a motor car. A sort of Haynes self manual for your life, the poems are illustrated with both photography and diagrams in its first outing as a collection, twenty-one years after original publication.
Right from Showroom Conditions to The Garden of Remembrance, set in the scrapyard, it traverses the journey of life via windscreen wipers and tyre wear. We have Checking One Out, where the teenage years are those of becoming one’s self, where ‘The mirror’s odd, my twisting body tries / To change his world, sit in it as my own /Model same as mine, the same things were spent, / Yet, in the same ways, had grown different.’
The tensions of love and it’s all its quirks are explored in through the spark plug system in lines of almost throwaway wit. ‘Your contact laughter makes and breaks my heart. / Am I competing with the other plugs? / You visit me in turn, but never start. / Am I too close or far away for hugs?’ I writing the poem, Larner hoped to see ‘can love’s bright spark be cultivated like the ignition timing management system?’
In Emission Control not only are fumes discussed, but the guidance and words of the tom tom, and it’s selective phrases – a little like our selective vocabulary where ‘We tune the complexities of the mind / To say who we were by what’s left behind.’ Ageing shows up on our bodies ‘How we face life wears patterns in our tread: / Shying away scuffs just our outer skin’ in Patterns of Wear. And the boot, an image for our deepest subconscious indeed – ‘Now I can go all day without thinking / About the boot. I hide things dark inside. / Secreting is comforting. No linking / Me with it. Locked. Have I nothing to hide?’
It feels far fetched to think that we can learn about human relationships by studying the phenomenon of clutch judder, or discern our path in life by the way we drive at night, and I’m sure that Larner has his tongue wedged in his cheek as he asks ‘Can the process of tyre wear and braking systems inform therapy for addiction?’ As metaphors the work is clear and can potentially be powerful.
At its root, divorced from our elevation of traditional forms or moved away from its Shakespearean association, a sonnet is a form in which two related but differing things to the reader are positioned in dialectical form in order to communicate something about them. Larner has done this in a way that is accessible, entertaining, and thought provoking.
Three stars, or a Volvo – solid, not spectacular.
Reviewed by Francesca at Whispering Stories Book Blog
**I received a free copy of this book, which I voluntarily reviewed**
The Car is a book of poetry about cars. Each poem is accompanied by a related picture which I liked. This is definitely a different kind of poetry book, but I like different. The poems aren't just about cars but are symbols of the condition.
Whether you're a car enthusiast or not, if you like poetry and enjoy "different" you should check out The Car.
Larner can do social commentary, as in Checking One Out, where the author slyly comments on the owners trying to sell a used car. “Inside seems strange, their car scent makes me cough. /Well-spruced today, but some days not at all.” The sellers’ home and vehicle are gently mentioned in a similar vein.
There are insights into British motoring, more than just calling the trunk ‘the boot’ and jack et cetera ‘breakdown tools.’ This is a fun walk into another culture, at least for this Canadian reader.
There are explanations that range from almost-praying that a car will start, to details of how essential parts work. For example, the cooling system diagram is from a Model T Ford. Much of the technology mentioned is from the simpler era where interested folk like myself actually understood how ignition, timing (and other things, like suspension) worked.
If you’re scrolling for the tiny carps, stop here. There is the odd phrase which I didn’t get. That’s it. Back to the good stuff.
A favourite here is Epithalamium, which includes this: “The starter cranks its bridal march for this: /The well-groomed air drawing your vapour veil. /Both mists co-mingling in one tingling kiss /To share a breath that burns as you exhale.”
For a bizarre and fascinating explanation, turn to The Right Gear, which is told from the point of view of a cog.
I should mention the images included in this book. They are all credited at the end. All are appropriate for the sonnet each accompanies. It is clear that the author chose these images with care. They vary from photos of cars, of car components, to diagrams of engines, carburetors, ignition systems.
Fittingly, the volume ends with The Garden of Remembrance - a scrap yard.
Back to the star count. This is my standard boilerplate:
My personal guidelines, when doing an ‘official’ KBR review, are as follows: five stars means, roughly equal to best in genre. Rarely given. Four stars means, extremely good. Three stars means, definitely recommendable. I am a tough reviewer. I try hard to be consistent.
Larner’s sonnets vary from literary to mechanical description. The images are all relevant. The work is imho unique. So is it best in genre? Worst in genre?
If you’re looking for some car nostalgia, this book is for you. If you’re looking to explain the automobile to a relative neophyte, this will definitely help. Four stars seems a fair rating for a general audience; your personal rating may well be higher.
Kindle Book Review Team member.
(Note: this reviewer received a free copy of this book for an independent review. He is not associated with the author or Amazon.)
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