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McGhee in the Gloaming Paperback – June 16, 2016
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About the Author
Bob Hazy is a writer inspired by the works of Melville, Steinbeck, Hemingway, and Dostoevsky. He studied literature at Yale University earning a BA and also holds a MS in computer science from Stevens. Although Bob built a career in information technology leadership and is currently an independent consultant, his real love is writing. He lives in the foothills of the Sierra in Northern California with his son, Nathan, and their dog, Gus.
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Top customer reviews
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McGhee’s story comes to us a piece at a time like a quilt of squares sewn randomly together. This post-modern approach to a novel more closely resembles the way a new acquaintance might tell the story of his life: not starting when he was born, but moving from part to part as he remembers different experiences. After going through twenty-four significant points of McGhee’s life, the reader gradually becomes well-acquainted with him, but there is no single “Rosebud” moment that explains everything. Reading the chapters out of order works fine for this book because with a few exceptions there is no order. So skip around if you like.
It’s natural to ask how close McGhee and his story are to the author Hazy and his actual life. Certainly the book is not a memoir, since a number of chapters take place in the future, all the way out to the year 2050. McGhee is a fictional character telling his life story as fiction. Yet many parts include such vivid detail that one thinks Hazy must be writing from his own experience —- for example, consider the events in Alaska, or else the many other places he visits. Still, the reader is at least one level removed from the author and likely more. In the end Hazy contrives to push the reader yet an additional level away from himself, another post-modern aspect to this novel.
As with any life, we experience along with McGhee the good and the bad, the easy and the difficult, triumphs and failures. McGhee is a kind of everyman, going though a large collection of experiences, and yet in another way he experiences very little. In the end it’s full life, what McGhee always wanted for himself. And the author? Even though he’s hidden around the corner, he’s also right there.
I highly recommend this book for inquisitive readers.
We have in this novel layers offering many elements: a man's compelling search for personal fulfillment, a love story, travel and interaction with endearing characters, lovely depictions of and experiences with nature, unique food, repudiation of stifling corporate/societal forces, realistic family dynamics; all are enhanced by relevant (and irresistible) literary allusions to some of the literary greats, nuanced connections to mythology of The Journey (think Joseph Campbell here), a little postmodernism-lite for those who like literary shenanigans (think Joyce here), charts/timetables for the more logistically inclined, and - finally - blogs and backstory for lovers of all things biographical and "meta." The good news is readers may approach the smorgasbord and experience what they will, some or all.
For me, the most compelling element is this: McGhee himself, the character and writer within the text, enlivens for himself the promise articulated in the last 6 lines of Shakespeare's "Sonnet 18":
"But [my] eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair [I] ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag [I] wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time [I] grow'st;
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to [me]."
But I'll let you decide if the above is really true. I can't recommend it highly enough. Definitely worth it!