Musings of an Old Man

Fiction - Anthology
137 Pages
Reviewed on 11/29/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Life is more than just one story; it’s a lot of stories. Francis Mont has collected a lot of stories and he’s written them in an unusual, but rather comforting way. Writing in the short story form, third-person narrative, the author presents a person’s life (presumably based on his own life) in a fictional format. As a child, he was his mother’s dream of becoming a musical prodigy. He did pursue music for a time, but other pursuits pulled him away, only to allow music to re-enter his life again, like the night in a Hungarian pub when the performers approached him to request a tune and his reply was, “I don’t care, as long as you play it in tune.” The performer, taken aback, handed him the violin and was taken aback even further when the performance that followed was spectacular. Life has precious moments like this. And then, like music, there is poetry that allows us to see the world from a whole new perspective.

Francis Mont’s book, Perambulations: Musings of an Old Man, is a collection of short stories and poems that read like a personal memoir. He takes the reader on a journey, a perambulation of sorts, through the ups and downs and sometimes bizarre and funny happenings that make up a life. And, beneath it all, or perhaps pushing his life forward, is the power of music. His range of topics varies from writing advice to musical prowess to a catchy, satirical poem about our suffering planet: “Earth is like a soap on a rope/ twirled around by the sun,/ … I wonder if the sun is aware/ how sick, how beyond hope/ how badly infested by us/…” And then his epic conclusion to the soap on a rope theme: “If I were the sun/ I would not want to know…/ …I would open my hand;/ let the poor bastards go.” And that would leave us all perambulating through space. The stories and poems are well written and full of life in its many forms: happy, sad, funny, serious, and so much more. This collection is all that makes one person’s life real. Loved it!

Sheena Monnin

Perambulations by Francis Mont is an upbeat, quirky, and unique collection of stories that explore themes of love, loss, priorities, and the impact of a lifetime of experiences on an older man’s perspective. Each story is told in an imaginative way, highlighting the main character’s interpretations of life. He humorously refers to himself throughout the stories as “the old man” which helps to paint a picture of who he is and adds an endearing layer to the stories. The reader is introduced to pieces of his fantastical life and the people close to him. He encounters amazing circumstances in the stories presented and the content will have the reader laughing and pondering at the same time. The addition of poetry adds diversity to the content and provides a nice transition between the stories.

I enjoy the way Perambulations by Francis Mont takes the reader through a connected but separate series of events that span time and space. Each theme is well presented, and the writing style makes for an enjoyable read. I appreciated the backstory at the beginning of the book. I felt I knew the author even before reading his collection of stories, which gave me a deeper insight into the short stories. The combination of self-deprecating descriptors and often very humorous storylines allowed for an easy read. The pacing was pleasantly broken up by the addition of poetry that wittily and sweetly captured the essence of each theme. The author chose ideas and experiences that most people can relate to and connect with, leaving a lasting impression upon the reader.