God, Grace, Dumb Luck

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
154 Pages
Reviewed on 09/30/2016
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

God, Grace and Dumb Luck by Phloyd Knucklez is one of the strangest books I have ever read. It is also one of the best. It's intriguing, puzzling, and although some people may not be able to get past the first chapter, others like me won't be able to put down God, Grace and Dumb Luck.

Now here's the strange part: how was I not able to put down a book that isn't fiction, doesn't have a gripping plot, isn't full of tension, doesn't titillate the senses, and sometimes even borders on being downright depressing, yet whose last chapter left me laughing out loud? What's with that? Maybe I'm as strange as Phloyd Knucklez (surely that's a pseudonym). What parent could be so heartless to name their child Phloyd? No wonder he's still lost and confused at 45, presuming God, Grace and Dumb Luck is possibly an experimental kind of memoir.

Memoir or not, God, Grace and Dumb Luck is actually social satire. Phloyd Knucklez, whoever he is, says the things many of us think, would love to say, but don't dare. We still need our family, friends and jobs. Through often powerful poetry, scattered throughout a mixture of slightly rambling reflections or conversations with real or fictional people, and the occasional longer story, Phloyd has us examining so much of the hypocrisy rampant in the occupational, social, political and religious circles of our lives. It is his ability to nail these hypocrisies, but not in an unkind way, that kept me enthralled. This is one very deep, often self-deprecating writer who also happens to be a brilliant thinker...and I love what he thinks and how he writes!

Of course, as I said at the beginning, Phloyd Knucklez' thinking and style of writing isn't for everyone. But if you want to read something very different, and come face to face with some realities you've chosen to ignore for sanity's sake, pick up a copy of God, Grace and Dumb Luck. It's a lot better than its author suggests.

Charles Remington

God, Grace, Dumb Luck by Phloyd Knucklez is a brilliant book and you should take the time to read it for a good many reasons, but mainly so you could say that you were familiar with this author’s work before he became a literary icon. That having been said, this book is not going to make him rich or famous. It is a publisher’s nightmare - a mish-mash of off-the-cuff poetry, random thoughts, real or imaginary conversations and short stories, mostly taken straight from the author’s seemingly mean existence. But the writing is flawless; this man has talent. The story Sunstruck for example, is a toe-curling tale of (I am assuming the author as a teenager) being discovered by his mother spying on his neighbour sunbathing in her back yard, and then being dragged to the neighbour’s house to apologise. I was blushing and cringing on his behalf.

But there are poems, passages and stories with astounding depth; titles like You Can Tell The True Timbre of a Person When They Lose and As Vague As He Is Flawed give some clue as to the subject matter. The book opens with the poem Part Of The Unraveling Process, which provides a list of the advantages of being forgettable, and closes with an angry tirade called Happiness Is, which includes the lines ‘if history teaches us anything about the human being it is that he is a complete failure.’ In between there are about a hundred and forty pages of some truly original work.

While reading God, Grace, Dumb Luck, I nearly filled an entire scribble pad with notes, many more than I would normally make while reviewing a book. Reading through them again now, I find myself wanting to share more of the genuine pearls to be found in this extraordinary volume. However, I think it would be best if you see for yourself. I can only encourage you to buy this book, which may, in turn encourage Mr Knucklez to produce his projected Marginal American Novel - a work in which he intends to deal with the search for personal identity. If it should ever materialise and make it into book form, I would hope to have the privilege of reviewing it.

Deborah Lloyd

The unique title, the roll of the dice, and even the author’s name indicates there is something different about this book! Phloyd Knucklez’ (a pseudonym presumably) work, God, Grace and Dumb Luck, is clever indeed. The book is a collection of short stories with a poetic bend, or a collection of poetry written in the format of short stories – or, some of each. Although these writings are seemingly disconnected at first glance, there are threads of similar topics, personal struggles and emotional reactions to life situations. There is a complexity within the stories that requires some reflective pondering to grasp the full meaning of each one – not unlike the requirements of perceiving the depths of meaning within poetry.

Beginning with some unique misspelling of words – why is Johnny spelled Jhonny? – and continuing with poignant dialogue, clichés and wandering musings, these writings are truly one-of-a-kind. In God, Grace and Dumb Luck, Phloyd Knucklez presents a remarkable and memorable body of work. The author plays with language nuances and grammar in a delightful way, yet delivers important messages. The reader is engaged throughout the book, wondering what surprises are in the next piece of work. Using a wide variety of techniques, and subject matter, the author keeps the reader guessing, and entertained. In fact, the reader may feel disappointed when he comes upon the last piece, wishing there were more vignettes, and the book would not end when it does. This is a very interesting, intriguing – and in some stories, provocative and thought-provoking – book.

Hilary Hawkes

God, Grace and Dumb Luck, written by Phloyd Knucklez, is an unusual and intriguing book. It is essentially a collection of short stories, although some appear more akin to poems, that explore people’s lives, human nature, the hum-drum of normal existence when life is not turning out in a more hopeful, fulfilling or positive way. The characters range from teenagers coping with school and growing up issues, to young adults seeking but not finding their place in life, to older individuals still questioning and seeking, and encountering others who appear to be doing the same.

I found Phloyd Knucklez's book to be an enjoyable and thought–provoking read. It is very competently written. I thought each story/episode was carefully thought out in terms of plot and theme – furthering the theme of the overall book. In some ways it has a somewhat sad tone, but I like the way the situations the characters find themselves in prompt the reader to think and explore. I also enjoyed the humor and funny moments in the stories – for example, the adolescent with the binoculars in Sunstruck. Elsewhere the author depicts a character who aims to be a writer and there is a comparison between the struggle to create a novel, deciding on its purpose etc, with trying to determine what life itself is about and finding your own individual purpose and personal identity.

This is a book that looks at the lives of those who feel unable to “fit in” and explores how this happens, how it is maintained, and how others – family, community, teachers, those in positions of authority – all play their part in influencing mental outlooks and achievements or lack of achievements. The cover showing the dice is a great idea – how much of life is luck? Through believable and well-depicted characters, it shows both hope and determination as well as resignation, depression and sadness.

There are many messages and insights about life and living in God, Grace and Dumb Luck. I liked the conversation between the failed poet and the soul, and in Harnessing The Disenchantment the words: “...sometimes we need to stop analysing the past, stop planning the future, stop deciding with our minds what we want our hearts to feel, sometimes we just have to go with…whatever happens – happens.” An unusual, very well written, clever and thought-provoking book by an author who knows how to present (and get us thinking about) the realities and ponderings of life.