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Sketches from the Spanish Mustang Paperback – June 26, 2012
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"Mr. Wretlind has penned a tale of such emotional and literary depth it will haunt the reader long after the last page is turned." -- Michael K. Rose, author of Sullivan's War
"Wretlind takes readers on a unique journey that rips away the outer layers of people allowing us to stare into their souls where humanity is universal: no matter the genre of writing." -- Gregory Allen, 2012 International Book Award and NY Book Festival winner, Patchwork of Me
About the Author
Benjamin ran with scissors when he was five. He now writes. He has been--at different times, of course--a fry cook, range boy, greens maintenance technician, reservations agent, room service attendant, editor, banquet server, meteorologist, instructor, program manager for Internet applications, curriculum developer, training simulation engineer and certification coordinator.
The author of A Difficult Mirror, Castles: A Fictional Memoir of a Girl with Scissors and Sketches from the Spanish Mustang, Benjamin has been called "a Pulitzer-caliber writer" with "a unique American voice." Aside from novels, he has been published in many magazines to include The Horror Express, All Hollows: The Journal of the Ghost Story Society, Horror Carousel and Bare Bones.
He also gets up before 4am to milk (words, not cows). His wife, Jesse, is an artist and counselor, which helps dealing with the five kids they raise as well as a dog, a rabbit, two hamsters, a gerbil and three fish. You can find Benjamin psychoanalyzing himself on his blog (bxwretlind.com/), on his Facebook page (facebook.com/bxwretlind/) or lounging about in the Twitterverse (@bxwretlind).
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Top customer reviews
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Centered on Cripple Creek, Colorado; a dying mining town clinging to life thanks to the emergence of casinos. Cripple Creek is only part of the story though, the citizens are the main focus in this haunting novel.
The tortured artist sketches these citizens giving us a glimpse in their life and revealing their struggles.
I thought "Castles" was a brilliant read from start to finish and Sketches from the Spanish Mustang lived up to everything that I expected. Wretlind's characters are fresh, rooted in realism, written brilliantly, and just fun to read. His writing style remains fluid and easy to read throughout. I still have a few questions about the conclusion of the novel but I'm sure I'll find those answers in my second read through.
If you have any doubt about Benjamin X. Wretlind as a writer, rest assured he is awesome and I'm positive he'll have a bright future. well worth the read and deserving of being on my top books of the year list.
I guess the clue was in the title. It never quite all came together. Intriguing characters, each with his or her own story came and went…and never returned. Only reading the author’s notes at the end did I realise that Sketches From the Spanish Mustang was indeed a collection of stand-alone novellas. There was never the intention for a rounded story in the traditional sense.
The background for each of the sketches is the former mining town turned gambling centre Cripple Creek in Colorado, a place the author clearly knows well. Crumbling boom town buildings saved by the tourist dollar. The decaying pitheads on the outskirts of town, the descendants of the miners’ burros roaming the environs in the shadow of the inhospitable hills, all expertly conveyed to the reader. The glue holding the sketches together is the Artist, herself a tortured soul following the death of husband and son many years before. She blames herself and finds herself in a purgatory, condemned to sketch similarly troubled individuals until she is ‘released’.
She sits outside the Spanish Mustang Casino and, sensing favourable subjects, commences to sketch. We meet a former miner having lost his self-respect drawn into domestic killings sparked by money and jealousy; the Indian drunk who speaks with a boy ghost; the touching story of a mother and her wayward teenage daughter, a brain-damaged war veteran and the middle-aged waitress never able to find refuge from an abusive past.
The best sketch ought to have been left until last; instead the story of Fulano opened the book. An illegal immigrant seeking his fortune to support his family is granted his life on the journey across the border only for the bargain to come home to roost in Cripple Creek. A lovely piece of storytelling.
Writland is a good writer, no frills or fancy imagery, with the sense of how a good story works. I’d just have preferred to have known up front that it was a collection.
Review Disclaimer: This book was provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review. The above review was not influenced in any way, including financial.
I'm not one for lengthy reviews, so here's the short version: Read this book. If you haven't heard of Benjamin Wretlind, which may very well be the case, you will. He has a mesmerising way with words.
Thanks for writing this book and allowing me to read it.