Review: The Book of Paul

The Book of Paul
The Book of Paul by Richard Long
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Syzygy

Oh what a word, one of my favorites and one that fits all aspects of this gorgeous amalgamation of craziness and story arcs throughout the book! But wait, which definition applies to this book?

Syzygy (astronomy), a straight line configuration of three celestial bodies
–This book involves Hermetical teachings, some that may fly right over your heads like those celestial bodies, do not fret though, you do not have to get that stuff to enjoy this read! Just blow through it like I do in battle scenes of epic fantasy novels.

Syzygy (astronomy), a straight line configuration of three celestial bodies
–Oh yes, definitely! This is truly a love story and not just between Rose and Martin. The aspect of eternity can be seen as a theme with everything in this book. What you read it and do not agree? Come on think about it! I will win this argument just like I won the ones about how it is not a cupcake without frosting and how Avatar is a Western (do not even try to win that one!)
Syzygy (mathematics), a relation between the generators of a module
–Numbers numbers numbers…. the wheel is all about numbers. 1+1=2 right? The cards are all about numbers, Martin must have equal and balanced aspects in what he wears, what he carries or his OCD goes ballistic. Where as Rose is OK with just having odd aspects mixed in with the even. She is OK with “prime” qualities instead of constant equalities. And William… Paul? They are to freaking selfish and must have them all!

Syzygy (poetry – specifically Greek poetry), the combination of two metrical feet into a single unit – where one consonant is used repeatedly throughout a passage, but not necessarily at the beginning of each word.
–Honestly, I caught several examples but if I start talking about that I may lose half of you. Just think of it as something quirky and clever …. that aha! moment when you take a sip of your coffee and go, “Wow how cool was that, he just brought it back to….” ya one of those… so no worries I have some great material to get to the meat of this puppy!

Syzygy – (X-Files) an episode of The X-Files
–OK seriously, this was on the bloody list and I am going to say, yes it fits! I about fell out of my chair laughing my rear off, in fact I could probably write a pretty decent thesis argument just around this. The show was made for the fans. It addressed several complaints and questions (will Scully and Mulder finally make-out [yes they did finally make out and more but at the time the writers were not having any of that PERIOD], would Mulder let Scully drive the car [seriously fans bitched about this?? Sheesh people are such philistines at times!] and all of this was because of some “rare planetary alignment” effecting the behavior of everyone in town, including two murderous teens (again with the bloody DUO of DEATH)

Where do you start with all that info? See how each can be applicable, if what I say is true (*giving you the death mask again* what I say is always true!) I am going to do my best to expand on the above ideas while reviewing and convincing you to go buy the book and read it (*giving you my death mask*…you will buy the book and you WILL enjoy it…).

Let’s start off with a few basics for you interested readers. First, this book is NOT for the faint of heart. It is a book which should not be expected as a quick weekend read. Which is one reason my review was not up and out there yesterday like I was targeting it for. That and I kept falling asleep and going into this screwed up fairyland full of bloody altars, crucified squirrels and a moose with a key around his neck *shuddering*. This is a dense read; literary fiction folks, there are no sparkly vampires frolicking through cedar trees or a love spell written in frosting on that cupcake. This is a thick porter house steak, dripping in blood and still moo’ing as you saw into it with a lovely Wüsthof steak knife.

I read Tarot, in fact I read with the Thoth Deck which is a creation of Aleister Crowley (the crazy and very infamous Occultist who believed the Necronomicon was a real book and had long drawn out correspondences with H.P.Lovecraft over the years of those wonderfully loony mens lives, both which have brought me much pleasure in mine). Something Crowley wrote popped into my head when I read the word syzygy within the pages of The Book of Paul:

“A curious conflict this of love and fear…”
Aleister Crowley from his Coll. Works ii. 77

This wraps up a lot of what the book talks about. There is pairing and duality, the main aspect of anything involving syzygy. You cannot have a true aspect of a singularity within the definition of this word, well ideal and philosophy and.. and…. I do not think there is a way to give you spoilers with this complex story, you just have to read it so I will be doing a bit more sharing than I usually do. (*slipping death mask on again* you want to read this book, this book is amazing, it will change your life…)

Any successful pairing, be it numbers, or spices or people, must start with a single idea or thought or spark of energy. It grows as more things are added, and as Paul enlightens us, it never dies; “Energy cannot be destroyed” (loc; 6893). But it still needs to be created and fed additional energy, that spark of chemistry between a man and a woman when you “see” them for the first time, I mean really see them. When Martin looks down at Rose and she up at him amidst the fluffy down comforter and their sweaty bodies right after they meet and umm do a special dance, it clicks and the energy is and will continue to flow, to grow to become …. indestructible. (BTW Richard gets a 6 out of 5 stars on his sex scenes and for those that do not get that joke, refer to this post when regarding how much importance I find when adding a sex scene to a novel)

Aha! Martin and Rose, the love story right? Well yes, it is… well one of the love stories in the book. There is the love for Rose that William has, our fourth-wall breaker, the orator of this tale, the Kelly family story teller. Another spoke on this grand wheel of characters. His love of Rose is intertwined with and branches out to that of knowledge and of death. His photographic memory allows his love of knowledge to grow exponentially and his love of it turns into his obsession with objects of death; ie: from my teaser last week “…up to thirty or even fifty, written by another sicko, each and every one of them covered with the skin of their victims.” These are books that William loved, coveted and had an intense relationship with. Is it a duality? Yes the duality of conflict within himself. How can one be as obsessed with such morbid and macabre items steeped in the blood of countless victims and still thing of himself as a good person? Oh man, that is a dicey question, and for the answer you best crack this book open because that would be a spoiler! (*my death mask slips on….*)

There is the love between Martin and Paul. A damaged boy’s love for the man he thinks of as his father, if not in blood (or could it be? oh I am being bad… *death mask slipped back on* go buy the book… read it.. you will LOVE it..) This man, Paul, mysteriously appears in his life and as a child all Martin has known is fear and a darkness by the hands of his mother. The syzygy of lightness and darkness…The darkness of the cellar, the darkness of her moods balanced with the rare light from his visits with his Aunt Norine, where cuddles and happiness reigned.

Paul brought with him another form of love, as only a man can bring. His love of control, of death, a detached death. Martin learned how to kill as a child and he started with shooting rats at the dump. Sounds pretty bleak right? It is very and this damaged boy turns out to be someone who recognizes the right kind of love in the end. Another turn of the wheel.

Am I stretching this a bit? Perhaps but love can mean many things, just like those four trump cards above, as Richard explains in his guest post. Paul happens to more than a little resemble one of those trump cards, The Devil. In the tarot The Devil can represent a irresistibly strong and unscrupulous person. Wait, that is Paul.. oh and it gets better, the card also can be representative to ambition, temptation, obsession… someone who has a secret plan about to be executed…(yanking hard on that wheel to break through the rust) Oh yes indeed. This is Paul people. Plus Paul, it seems is made up of pure energy for he may or may not have been around for quite some time. This is where I will leave it for if I went on about the transmigration of souls it would get murky and I would lose you. Let’s also say this plays into the syzygy of the mathematical aspects, for numbers make up everything, math can be found in all things as so many stories having used the Fibonacci sequence have shown us. I am pretty sure you can grasp that one… but I really am digressing and I want to get a move on here!

Over all by the end of The Book of Paul we have been fed with Hermetics, sadism, masochism, blood, death, damage, lightness, love, violence, god building, crucifixion, resurrection, obsession, body modification (I am so needing ink and a new hole punched into my body now) and in it all the wheel keeps turning. Life moves forward, where it will end with this book depends on who does that final crank of the wheel.

Who will end up standing, even it is barely, with his head still on? Will the Malestorm rip someone part? Will any come away still whole, or at least almost as they were with only some parts missing? Will some of these parts be assimilated and absorbed into another? Isn’t this love? A chemical reaction of energy?

Syzygy is about a pairing, be it two numbers, two people, two sparks… a hammer pounded into the head of a nail… and to make these things work there are opposites, the magnetic poles on a parallel path; such Martin and Rose or William and Paul. Each damaged, each with different obsessions, each with different goals and in the end fitting together and balancing each other out, creating an extra spoke in that wheel, or perhaps a pole to thrust in and cause a crash of monumental proportions that no one, even one who has lived hundreds and thousands of lifetime sees coming…

Love is the syzygetic ideal of this story. But it left some sparks behind, which found some other sparks and I have a feeling the next six books are going to blow my mind as much if not more than this one. I wish I could keep going because I did not even come close to touching the core aspects of this book, I have already gone on to much but if I were to sum it up I would have to say this:

“The Book of Paul a twisted, festive, life & death tale dragging us from sunlit rooms into the dark corners of our minds one hammer swing at a time.”

The book is one of my top reads of 2012, no question about it. In fact Geoff even wants to read it and that is no small feat as many of you know! I am going to rate this a full five of five whacks! *death mask slips back on* Go …buy it now, it is only 99¢, what do you have to lose, I have never steered you wrong this book is a bloody festive romp of delight into those dark recesses of your soul that you would never admit you like… kind of like William’s little collection of skin covered journals…

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2 thoughts on “Review: The Book of Paul

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