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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!