This is a work of fiction set in a real place, which means the author has allowed the maps to be wrong on occasion, the characters were granted permission to turn up where they never did in life, and a girl in 1989 may read a poem from the 13th century no matter when it was translated, screams the disclaimer to songwriter, playwright, blogger, essayist, journalist and now author Charlie Quimby’s debut novel Monument Road. It is a hilarious start to a novel that is anything but that.
Charlie Quimby is a natural and masterful storyteller which comes through in his debut novel, which is a gem of a beauty. It makes reading a pure pleasure as the reader is transported to the world of Leonard Self unwinding his ranch for his tryst with destiny – to take the ashes of his wife, Inetta, up Artists Point and scatter them to the wind. It was a year and a day ago that his wife died of cancer. Before her death she made him promise what he’s planning to do today. And he has made up his mind to take his promise a step further – to throw himself off with her ashes. And that day is today!
Since the day of Inetta’s cremation, Leonard has been making arrangements for this day. He was withdrawn, reclusive, and secluded which was a far cry from the time he was with his beloved wife. Along their life’s journey, they had touched many lives, notable among them being Inetta’s brother Elliot and a young alcoholic called Vaughn with lofty dreams, compelling Leonard to think aloud: “If you did your best and persevered, good things might happen, but goals were better left to kids playing games, where the baskets were nailed down and the posts were buried. In real life, things moved on you.”
Think of yourself as Leonard trying to explain why he’s giving away his dog, you would fumble too. And Inetta’s friend becomes suspicious. Though he has withdrawn into a shell of his own, they deeply cared for him. And think of Leonard snaking down Colorado National Monument, with the ashes of his wife in a ceramic container next to him. And the thoughts going through his mind!
Written in simple but beautiful prose which amplifies the mood of the story, Monument Road with its memorable and unforgettable cast of characters, rich landscape and sweeping storyline delivers a powerful tale that will leave readers clamoring for more. It is a must-read for everyone. If you are planning on reading just one book this month, this should be it. (Click on the book cover to go to Amazon)
Publisher: Torrey House Press
List Price: $16.95
Release Date: November 12, 2013
CHARLIE QUIMBY is the author of Monument Road, a debut novel coming in November 2013 from Torrey House Press and is at work on a quasi-sequel. He’s a fourth-generation Coloradan who spent most of his career in Minnesota after studying at Carleton College. Following an early stint as a bookseller and historical playwright, he wrote for the Minneapolis Star, Honeywell and then his own company, where he was an award-winning writer, annual report creative and marketing strategist.
He is a co-author of Planning to Stay, a guide for how to assess your community and take control of its development. Since 2004, he’s blogged about culture and politics at Across the Great Divide and splits time between his two home states, where he writes fiction and volunteers with the homeless. He can also be found online on Facebook and on Twitter @CharlieQuimby. In the real world he is likely to be near his wife, his computer or his bicycle.