I Read What You Write is pleased to post the second part of this weekend’s In The Spotlight- Confessions of an Honest Man by Arthur Rosch. If you missed yesterday’s in-depth look at the book and its author click HERE to get caught up. Stop by tomorrow for Lian Asks: 5 Questions with Artur Rosch.
This book follows Aaron Kantro and his family from the depths of childhood abuse to the clear hindsight of adulthood. The compellingly addictive story takes Aaron and his siblings through the depths of hell to even darker places and along the way they learn just what they are truly capable of.
It is a powerful story written by an author able to capture the emotional honesty of his protagonists. I wanted to hate the monsters, but understanding why they were the way they were, simply made me pity them and want to weep for the children who would bear the scars for their inability to with evil. Told as chronology, it was easy to stay connected to the individual characters. As each new date showed at the beginning of the chapter, I would hope that Sarah was finally chasing down her demons; That Aaron would find a way to listen to his inner angel; Cringe at what Mark and Mari-lee would be about to do next. My heart broke for Max, a product of his age, thrown into a seething chaos that no human being should have to endure.
The story is character driven and the characters are not short on story. Each person who glances through the various lives of the Kantro family probably could have supported an entire novel just on their back-stories alone. I laughed and I wanted to cry. Somehow the human spirit with its need to create beauty will try to find a way to survive but not all those who have travel in darkness will manage to find the light.
This is a brilliant story with multiple layers. It makes me want to explore other books by Arthur Rosch. This was definitely worth the price of the download.
About The Book:
Aaron Kantro’s mother is violent. When he wants to become a musician, she sabotages him in devious ways. What is wrong with this woman? Aarron wins an important scholarship to study music. He’s only nine years old but he finds courage and learns the art of deception in order to take his prize. The battle is the first of many that Aaron and his siblings must fight. This novel explores a fifty year slice of life through the eyes of the Kantro family. The story tells a tale of childhood abuse yet it never loses warmth and humor. It explores the price paid by children who suffer from parental violence. Along the way we pass through high school in the 60’s, The Summer Of Love, meet Jimi Hendrix and other celebrities, fight in the Soviet Afghan War and make the arduous journey from addiction to recovery. “Confessions Of An Honest Man” is a psychological book. It observes in minute and honest detail the quirks of human nature. It amuses and horrifies. It always surprises.
Father Max, mother Esther and the four children are portrayed credibly and with deep inner logic. Youngest son Mark is a mediocre martial artist and a sociopathic weapons collector. He always exudes an air of menace and danger. Mari-lee is a climber, looking to marry the wealthiest man she can snare. Sarah and Aaron seek refuge in creativity. They are damaged souls but as they respond to their wounds we see how they make moral choices that influence their destinies.
While working in music, Aaron meets his mentor, a famous jazz musician named Zoot Prestige. The saxophonist demonstrates an approach to living, a funny, flexible world view that helps Aaron in his time of deepest crisis. Zoot defines the nature of Evil in a few pithy sentences. What is Disease and what is Evil? Zoot knows the difference. When Aaron loses his way and suffers his “dark night of the soul”, he remembers his teacher’s admonition:”ask for help. Don’t be too proud. You can’t do it alone. Ask for help”.
This book is a coming-of-age adventure novel that looks “under the hood” into human beings’ deepest motivations. Its observations keep the reader engaged, in suspense, turning the pages. There is so much here with which to identify! The Kantros may not be ordinary people but they aren’t difficult to understand. They want to live, to love, to thrive. Why is that so difficult? These are some of the questions that are explored in “Confessions Of An Honest Man.”
About The Author:
Art Rosch was raised in the suburbs of St. Louis. He attended Western Reserve and Wayne State University, but wasn’t much of a student. He worked through his teens and twenties as a jazz and blues drummer. He met a girl who liked poets, so he became a poet. He found that he was attracted to the writing more than to the girl. He began exploring the novel form in the late seventies and wrote his first novel around ’77. It was terrible.
In 1969 Art moved to the San Francisco area. His first sale was to Playboy Magazine in ’78. The story won “Best Story Of the Year” and he enjoyed fifteen minutes of fame. Since then he’s been doing what most writers do: collecting bales of rejections and honing his craft. He has published in EXQUISITE CORPSE, TRUCKIN’, SHUTTERBUG, POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY and, yes, CAT FANCY. Art loves science fiction and fantasy and much of his writing is inspired by the work of Philip K. Dick and Jack Vance. He teaches courses in amateur astronomy and photography through local parks and recreation centers.