Tag Archives: Two Years

San Francisco Nights

Jessica Z by Shawn Klomparens (Delta Trade Paperbacks)

This debut novel by Shawn Klomparens became a must read when I finished his second novel, Two Years, No Rain.   The location and protagonist are quite different – this story being set in San Francisco rather than San Diego, and the main character a woman (Jessica Zorich) rather than a man (Andy Dunne).   What permeates both books is the slightly unnerving sense of impending danger.   There is an undercurrent that lurks in the background which the reader cannot ignore.

Jessica is an attractive red-headed advertising copywriter with a hesitant, non-committal approach to life that is not serving her best interests or desires.   She begins her tale by bemoaning the relationship rules she has invoked with her upstairs neighbor/sometime boyfriend Patrick McAvoy.   Their interactions could be labeled “Push Me, Pull You” after the Dr. Doolittle character.  

Patrick is not at all exciting for Jessica because he is stable, trustworthy and reliable.   The story picks up its pace when a tall mysterious artist named Josh Hadden fixates on Jessica at a party that Patrick arranged.   Sensing the attraction, Jessica enjoys feeling like the center of someone’s attention.   Josh is lusty, aggressive and deeply committed to his political beliefs!

Although Jessica has had difficulty with her romantic ties with Patrick, she makes easy transitions to a new job and a quirky semi-relationship with Josh, a lithographer who is intent on melding modern technology with the age-old art.   Her one life-long relationship is with her sister Katie.   These two sisters are portrayed as each other’s bedrock.

In Jessica Z, Klomparens dazzles the reader with his cinema verite style that brings the reader along while Jessica narrates her actions and thoughts.   Jessica oddly stifles her modesty, comfort and privacy when she is with Josh.   She becomes prey – her mouse to his cat.

Jessica’s lack of self-protection is truly naive and shocking.   Klomparens exploits the humanity that becomes apparent when we spend time with others – time enough to break through their public faces and expose the vulnerability that resides deep inside every person.  

This novel is insightful and persistent in its explorations of relationships.   It offers lessons about life that are both true and troubling.   Highly recommended although it is not light reading.

This review was written by Ruta Arellano.   A copy of the book was received from the publisher.   Jessica Z is also available as a Kindle Edition download.

 

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Who’ll Start the Rain?

San Diego’s two-year drought serves as a metaphor for the life of the main character, Andy Dunne.   Author Shawn Klomparens is a master at dialogue.   He is able to delve into suppressed feelings and expectations through the exchanges between the characters that populate Andy’s world.   An underlying theme of betrayal and loss is also woven throughout the fast-paced story.

There are many types of love, friendship and respect that Andy demonstrates in his interactions with his sister Leigh Anne, niece Hannah, best friend Rich and most of all with Hillary Hsing, his two-year (married) infatuation.   The story takes place in the context of satellite radio weathercasts and a children’s TV show complete with a magic flying carpet.two years 5 (sharp)The book is nearly the male counterpart of Easy on the Eyes, the story of a TV news magazine host who is urged to undergo plastic surgery to keep her career alive.   Redundancy and the economy rather than aging beauty provide the impetus that launches our hero on his quest to become New Andy, as Hillary calls him, or finally Real Andy, as he describes himself.

This book is ideal as a vacation read with equal parts of humor and soul-searching.

Delta, $15.00, 370 pages

Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.

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