Between Eden and the Open Road

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
184 Pages
Reviewed on 07/18/2013
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Author Biography

Philip Gaber currently lives and works in North Carolina. He spends the majority of his day attempting to reconcile differences between his conscious and subconscious. In his spare time he tries not to drift around his community as an invisible spirit or juggle more than a handful of moral dilemmas at a time.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite

Between Eden and the Open road by Philip Gaber is the most honest collection of prose and poetry you are likely to find out there right now. The collection is imperfect and it asks you to look at what it offers with unafraid eyes, with eyes that ask you to find your way in something, anything. If you are tired, if you are waking up from seeing what life has become, anything like that. This is what Between Eden and the Open road asks of you.

I found myself completely enthralled with this book. It is funny, honest, gritty and, even at times, sad. Poetry and prose seem to have fallen by the wayside with publications lately. How refreshing to pick up a book and dive deep into such luscious understanding of the skill. The voice of the narrator can be truly felt as well, guiding you through this wonderland of work and making sure to keep you mostly grounded.

Philip Gaber has created a beautiful work with Between Eden and the Open Road. Not everyone will understand this work. Every single reader should try though. This one goes on the very rare 'will read again' shelf for me because I think I will enjoy it even better the second time around. If you are a lover of poetry, or a lover of writing that will force you to open those reading eyes more, and work your brain, you will love this book as I did.

Ginna Lamkie

"Between Eden and the Open Road" is a collection of short stories and poems by Philip Gaber. These poems and stories explore a number of topics, from mental health to love and to addiction. Relationships of all types are explored. Most of the selections are one to two pages long, with a few running as long as five. The dedication in the front of the book reads “This book is for those to whom it speaks.” It very much spoke to me. Some of the stories felt like excerpts from a longer intriguing story, rich with feeling and back-story. The best example of this is 'Comfort'. Who is Muriel? How did she become so far gone? That is the story that drew my interest and made me want more, but the beauty of this book is that for each reader there is probably a different poem or story that speaks to them. Another of my favorites was 'This Notion of Participation'. I felt it was written about me in high school: nothing special, not the worst kid, not the most remarkable story, just a human experience.

Philip Gaber was able to take small pieces of life and turn them into poetry. It flows in such a way that you almost forget it is about common people and common situations until something pops up that is so familiar that you wonder if he has seen your soul. Many of these stories will leave you wanting to reread them again and again and look at them from every angle.

Lit Amri

“Between Eden and the Open Road” by Philip Gaber is a collection of short writings and poetry, an honest depiction of people's life struggles. Initially, I was expecting a novel but got a compilation of somewhat gritty prose and poetry instead. Thought-provoking and with an impressive depth, “Between Eden and the Open Road” is brazenly frank. I noticed the dark humor right away in each story or poem I read. The theme for every piece is the same: failures, that all the characters in this book have to endure. The characters are blurry; readers will find it hard to figure out who they are and whether they are connected to each other. Some characters are quirky, some are mysterious and some are depressed. To put it simply, it is a puzzling ensemble of characters.

Halfway through the book, I began to wonder whether I was reading a noir. However, despite the ambiguous aspect of this book, there are certain chapters that I favored and reread. In terms of writing style, Philip Gaber is refreshingly appealing in a different way. He effortlessly turns emotions into words. All in all, Phillip Gaber’s “Between Eden and the Open Road” is an enjoyable read though confusing at times. It may not be for all readers, but if you want to read something different, you may want to take a chance at this impressive but challenging material. In Gaber's own words, "This book is for those to whom it speaks."