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Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite
On the Brink: A Trio of Genres by Philip Fitzell contains three stories in different genres about a monk (science fiction), a seamstress (fantasy) and a school teacher (horror). In Chapter and Verse, Brother Clay, a diminutive monk, sits for endless hours alone in front of his computer that seemingly comes to life. As he questions God's very existence, he confronts words inside a cloud formed by light issuing from a shutdown computer. This changing poetic text stirs up these doubts about God especially when weighed against his love of science, which dismisses God as a myth. Icy is a seamstress’s fantasy and the story allows us to follow Clotho, a fashion model, as she walks uninhibited inside one of the most fashionable department stores in Paris. Tee Hee Hee, on the other hand, tells the story of Helen Toom, a schoolteacher whose life is swallowed by hatred and abhorrence for most everything around her.
On the Brink is an imaginative and inspired novel that focuses on three very interesting characters. It is decidedly a breath of creative fresh air for avid readers out there. Lyrical and poetic, Chapter and Verse touches a controversial topic, which is also quite universal. Brother Clay retreats into his own world and it is shattered by a most unlikely character - his computer. As a seamstress goes about her ordinary life, her fantasy runs wild in Icy. Tee Hee Hee reminds me of an Edgar Allan Poe story where darkness and foreboding prevail. The result is a beautiful collection of three short stories that poke at the reader’s subconscious, unlike the usual literary fare ordinarily available to us today. Philip Fitzell writes with a tinge of vagueness that teases his readers to read his works again and again. This is a gem of a book!