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The Stars We Wrecked Paperback – December 24, 2015
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
The novel is not a typical novel. The main character, who is a writer, or more specifically an agent reflecting on himself, is very complex. Lane himself admits to be a split personality, simply because as a CIA agent he has to act under a different identity. His undercover name is Peter and he is given the assignment to monitor E.P. and report on his thinking and effort to comply with the system and not losing face. The reminiscences are not just agent Peter's memories of the King (E.P.), but a social analysis. Gradually we find out that the society is not just historical, but eternal. Its duration is permanent and it's still very topical. The work that has been changing into a kind of dramatic dialogue between agent Peter and Elvis precisely shows the ambivalence of the human ego and the life of a "gifted artist". Little by little, we arrive at the point in which the agent, who is monitoring, and the gifted E.P., who is being monitored, appear to be in fact one person in two bodies. Their conversation only seems to be a dialogue between two people, two personalities. One person wants to get ahead by means of his own intellect and opinions, the other, however, is constantly adjusting to the general hypocrisy. One part of the ego agrees with the opinion of those who have the power and control the society, while the other attempts to escape the reality and fights against those in power. The dualism of the inner ego and the presented struggle with one's self ensures that the writing is easy to read, straight forward and - despite the length -riveting. We slowly come to realize that the confusion in the souls of both characters has brought about a dramatic climax and that another person has appeared - a personality symbolizing the restless spirit captured by a deformed society. While reading we try tounderstand the mentioned duality of the main character, agent Peter, and we get to see that however we're trying to comprehend the artist or the calculating agent, we are limited by our own inability to protect ourselves against the system and the relentless requirements of the society. The author reminisces about and describes how the merciless dictator of the manipulated society is hovering above the gifted artist's talent - and it is this dictator who, backed by the general approval of the public, controls every creative soul. The desire to have a career and a portion of fear turn the CIA agent into a hypocrite who keeps his own opinion to himself, while presenting a total opposite of this opinion to the public. At the same time, he feels compassion and perhaps a hidden, undeclared love and admiration to the gifted artist who is caught in the cobweb of the society. Arnold Lane's friend words in the book's prologue say it all: this pathologically ironic book is an imitation of life. It means that we'll get to see the true face of Janus, the true face of society witnessing a battle between good and evil, between talent and shoddiness, between mediocrity and originality. But we'll also get to see the double-facedness of the human ego which accommodates the struggle between desires and needs, freedom and submissiveness, tenderness andviolence. To some degree I could consider these memories to be the confession of a generation, a confession in which reality blends with a surreal dream. The hero is a split personality, he doesn't know what he wants, is totally confused. He despises the entire society, but cannot stand up against it. He tries to live a normal life. He doesn't want to earn money at the expense of others, but is forced to do it. This psychodrama is about the search for spiritual peace, human values and artistic freedom. The novel is in no way just mediocre literature for lovers of cheap bestsellers, but a serious reflection on ourselves intended for demanding readers.
About the Author
Milan Kalis was born in 1979 (August 22) in Ilava, former Czechoslovakia, Slovakia now. In 1996 and 1998, Kalis received twice the Mayor of the City Trencin's prize for poetry in Jozef Branecky's literary contest. Following 1996´s success, publisher Ludoprint published his first book of poetry "Črepy 20. storočia" (Shards of 20th century , 224 pages, ISBN 8096772104) in 1997. Around 100 pages poem "Cesta pokračuje" (The Journey continues) from this book received the prize in European Union's contest, ,,Europa at the school" in 1997. The short story "Apuesta" won the prize in Slovak literary contest Literarny Kezmarok in 1998. Kalis graduated from Comenius University in Bratislava with a Master of Science in environmental science in 2005. In march 2011, he successfully defended his dissertation in the postgraduate study program in environmental geochemistry at the Comenius University in Bratislava, Faculty of Natural Science.
In november 2015, publisher Marencin PT published his prose "Rozdrásané duše" (Lacerated Souls, 288 pages, ISBN 9788081145421) in Slovakia. The same publisher published the novel "Kúpil som si bordel" (I Bought the Whorehouse, 224 pages, ISBN 9788056900284) in september 2017.
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Top customer reviews
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Firstly, I thought this was a completely unique idea! A CIA agent infiltrating the groups surrounding famous pop stars to ensure they don't give off the wrong messages to the youth - it was more than that, but I can't quite put it into words.
The author is evidently an Elvis fan and I appreciate the huge amount of time that must have been dedicated to research, but The Stars We Wrecked just wasn't for me. I found the plot quite difficult to follow as it seemed to jump about a lot. Not for me but a very good idea!