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Conversations Among Ruins Paperback – August 13, 2014
About the Author
Dual diagnosed* from an early age, Matthew Peters dropped out of high school at sixteen. He went on to obtain an A.A., a B.A. from Vassar College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University. He has taught various courses in a variety of disciplines throughout North Carolina. He is committed to increasing the awareness and understanding of the dual-diagnosed. Conversations Among Ruins is his first novel. His second novel, The Brothers’ Keepers, is available on Amazon.com. *The term “dual diagnosed” refers to someone who suffers from a mood disorder (e.g., depression) and chemical dependency.
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Top customer reviews
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Scene One: “A chill passes through Stavros. The key is cold. He is cold. His head spins. Now he’s warm. He should sit down. No, he is sitting down. He clings to the sofa cushion’s edge. If he can hold on tightly enough, he might weather this storm. Because the storm is her. Thunder crackles, then booms. Lightning shimmers. Rain pours. The apartment is dark. Loneliness, desolation. Water pouring from the sky into an empty vessel.”
I’m a recovering alcoholic, and was also diagnosed bi-polar some 20 years ago when no one understood it. Mr. Peters examines the alcoholic mind, the troubled, tormented, bizarre mind - yet also the mind of a genius cascading around madness like razor blades across the the heels of an infant’s feet. I have felt this way. The confusion. The fog. The voices questioning every move, every breath, every thought - what’s that? did I do this right? who’s speaking to me? what’s that sound? did you hear something? say something? does anything mean anything? You get the picture. Starves, through Mr. Peters’ startling inner-dialog, made me look in the mirror again, force my eyes to not look away, and graciously say out loud, “you NEVER have to go there again. Not EVER.”
Scene Two: “Many things shall mortals learn by being, but no man may read the future of his fate before his past he fully understands. Not to be born is past all prizing best; but, when a man hath seen the light, this is next best by far, that with all speed he should go thither, whence he hath come.”
In one of the most self-examining, haunting, and emotionally intense scenes I’ve read in years, nothing will quite prepare you for the final 20 pages of Conversations. Mr. Peters walks us through a labyrinth of the frightened soul, yet also the soul of courage, NOT finality. The novel’s conclusion reminiscences of Dickens, Dostoyevsky, and Marlowe. As a recovering alcoholic I cannot number the mentally blood-soaked, sleepless hours pondering my existence - who am I? what is the purpose? WHY do I have THIS to fight? Anything but this…This novel provides answers to these questions. It provides the grit and silt as well as the embraces and kisses. It is an Atonement piece, a journey that terrifies and heals, shocks and comforts - gives direction if you’ve ever suffered the chaos and horror of the alcoholic mind. If you have the courage as well as the faith, nestle in somewhere with Mr. Peters and Conversations Among Ruins and go through his self-examination portrait we all need to revisit from time to time.
There is a poetry yet a wildness to the prose in this book. It's bold and in your face and then soothing. Its imaginative and ultimately takes the reader on a journey of self discovery. The effect on me is all over the place, and I think that is what Peters set out to do. It tears you to pieces, puts you back together again. It confuses you, sometimes angers you, then makes you ashamed of those feelings. It leads you into a world of unreality and self deception that is all too real for someone caught up in self destructive addiction, and in the case of Peters' protagonist Daniel Stavros case, a related deep depression, I loved the use stream of consciousness description The structure of the prose in this book is a proper, effective reflection of Stavros's state of mind.
Perhaps for me it is too personal at the moment. I am heavily involved in matters affecting the life of a talented young person who is caught in web of a deep drug addiction and on a path to nowhere good, just like Stavros. Stavros's behavior so closely mirrors the behavior of my young friend that it was sometimes hard for me to keep reading. Addiction is self-destructive, Addicts are seldom truthful to themselves, let alone the people around them. It is typical for such a person to be comfortable only with people with similar issues, such as in Daniel's relationship with Mimi Dexter. If only they can all find their own mysterious mountain top retreat and a way to healing.
Mathew Peters makes you feel the addiction. Great job, and in my view ,he tells an important story.
Most recent customer reviews
The imagery and beautiful use of language is intriguing and addicting. I'm a fan!