I received my first e-mail from an author requesting a book review in late March. As the writer of a little-known blog I was shocked to discover that any author would offer up their book for my criticism.
I was unsure about performing the review. What if I didn't like the book? The author suddenly became a person and perhaps, because of that, I wondered if I would be able to write a honest review. I have brutally pointed out the flaws in literature in the past. I hoped to be able to do the same when the author became more than words in a book. When I was greeted with a format (short stories) and style (magic realist) that I do not frequently pursue, I agreed to the task.
Joshua D. Boeringa's Beautiful Artifacts, Heartbreaking Relics contains four short stories which explore complex emotional relationships. Each story portrays fragments of nuclear families and the connections between husband and wife, brother and sister, and son and parent.
Boeringa crafts two of his tales on the relationship between son and father. Physical and emotional abuse resound in his work. Moreover, his use of language and sentence structure quickly engaged me in his writing. I read through his stories quickly and eagerly.
However, "Heartbreaking Relics" is the tale which has stayed with me after finishing Boeringa's book. It is this short story which I believe would resound with each book-lover and writer. "Heartbreaking Relics" explores the love of literature and that between husband and wife. Boeringa's tale suggests that one's writing can capture their essence. In turn, writing with the goal of becoming published can destroy the art of writing for itself. Writing for a mainstream audience may result in the alienation of the author.
Boeringa's work seems to avoid the pitfall of writing mainstream. His work provides unique perspectives on contemporary issues. While the issues he explores are common in literature, his perspective and use of language are most definitely original.
Boeringa, Joshua D. Beautiful Artifacts, Heartbreaking Relics. America: Maudlin Ibis Press, 2010.