The Chronicles of a Madman
Michael Larocca
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The Chronicles of a Madman

Michael Larocca
Zumaya Publishing
200 pages
December 2001
rated 1 of 5 possible stars

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This book of short stories, poems, a novella, and a play misses in all genres precisely because it was intended to succeed in all genres. A collection of short tales, or perhaps two novellas, would have made literary sense and maintained a degree of continuity, but in attempting to mix and match so many disparate forms between two covers, this book has a thousand faces - and all of them ugly.

Curled Up With a Good BookMany of the short pieces have the feel of high school creative writing exercises; no secondary levels of emotion or intent, and the story revealed within the first couple of paragraphs. You know the endings two pages in, so why continue reading?

"In The Fullness of Time" opens the book with an intriguing if overused theme - going back in time to change a future event. Here, a brother blessed with the gift of time travel, rewinds many years in order to stop his brother's suicide. But the brother ends up killing himself and the whole story falters and so, why did the brother go back? You're waiting for some sort of novel wrinkle, or some funhouse mirror distortion to take the story in a new direction. But it never comes.

LaRocca relies on cliches to present his tales and they are terribly obvious and boring. He is not a writer without wit or willingness, but this doesn't deserve a second look. The only "madman" here is the author for ever writing this amalgam of thinly disguised, English 101-leaning pieces.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2004

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