You Among the Coordinates

Fiction - Literary
120 Pages
Reviewed on 08/18/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

It’s nearly 40 years since I wrote the first story in this volume, the days of smoke-filled bars and traveler’s checks. It was an attempt to extricate myself from what the Pre-Socratics dub chaos, a swim to the surface. I’m unclear whether these are, in fact, stories in the conventional sense. There’s narration moving the action forward, but I’ve been uninterested in the big moment that transforms the protagonist, the phony dramatic crescendo and resolution. Rather, I’m sticking to an explication that might, instead, simply express how I feel as I pass through – observing, participating and processing as I might.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Erin Nicole Cochran for Readers' Favorite

You Among the Coordinates by Greg Masters makes you smell the smoke and hear the clinking of glasses filled with liquid to fire up the soul. His writing takes you back in time to places of merriment, sadness, and at times careful introspection throughout it all. We are carried from the city of all cities, New York City, where we see love found, love explored, and the possibility of love unrequited. And then we find ourselves immersed in Mexico. The dichotomy of the two places is vast and one feels the transportation, but without any need of a passport. The story of Mexico itself has this relationship vibe, which was invigorating to see through the eyes of the author. The tone of it all is straightforward and without any regrets. And the stories following after still possess a continuation of the thread of love but in different forms. The love of helping your fellow man, the love of family and loss that comes with it.

Greg Masters's You Among the Coordinates really wrapped its way around my soul. There were moments when I laughed and related many times with the subject material, and there were moments when I wept. The words will touch you and embrace you like a two-finger shot of straight whiskey envelops a body. On page 23 can be found part of one of my favorite many lines in this book: “Inside that place of polished wood and mirrors and waiters with white shirts and black bow ties, we sat comfortably…” - the poetry in that small excerpt just digs its heels into your core. A beautiful melodic pairing of words is found all throughout You Among the Coordinates and you won’t want to miss the trip that it takes your body, mind, and soul on. So, print out your ticket and get ready.

Edith Wairimu

Greg Masters’ story You Among the Coordinates transforms the ordinary into special recollections over a span of forty years. The experiences are set in the East Village of Manhattan and they capture the change that occurs in the neighborhood as the years pass. At the forefront are the main character’s love life and life experiences throughout the years. After breaking up with Micaela, Greg moves on with Fenya. He is plagued by guilt for not taking longer to mourn his last relationship. Fenya too fades into the past after a while and Greg moves on. After some time of balancing work, dating and hanging out at local bars, Greg decides to travel to Mexico for a break and to get away from the city. As the story moves forward, details about his family are also explored.

You Among the Coordinates does not aim for a grand lesson or highlight in the plot. Instead, the work includes day-to-day experiences and reshapes them into transcendent moments by focusing on the main character’s observations and perspectives. Other characters come and go from Greg’s life. His relationships have their high points but as the days pass, they reach their end and the characters move on with their lives. The bar settings in many parts of the book offer a place for socialization for Greg where he observes those present, meets new people and has conversations. While many moments in the book are light, the work takes on heavier themes towards the end. You Among the Coordinates by Greg Masters is an imaginative and straightforward literary piece.

Astrid Iustulin

You Among the Coordinates by Greg Masters is made up of a collection of several short stories he has previously published. They are now linked together by a simple and exquisite plot that makes it possible to have a clear beginning and end. The protagonist, Greg, tells his story in the first person with an original mixture of thoughts and events. He starts by recalling his many love affairs, some of them long but many others short, but little by little, the tone changes. A trip to Mexico is a turning point, and the narrative becomes more and more thoughtful, giving way to deeper and more important considerations.

You Among the Coordinates is a gem of a book for its elegant style and charming story. Among its best features, its great storytelling is the one that stands out. Masters has a way of writing that is natural, and that makes the story easy to understand. The descriptions, especially those of settings and places, are richly detailed. The stories, though short, create a broad and colorful patchwork of thoughts. I think that You Among the Coordinates is praiseworthy for the way it presents its protagonist’s mind. His meditations are the thread of the book and become more and more elaborate. You clearly understand his development and evolution. This story is as charming and delicate as the soft color of the book cover suggests. I recommend You Among the Coordinates to readers who like to be lulled by words and who appreciate quiet but meaningful stories.