Thursday, March 15, 2018

Book Review: 'A Noble Truth' by Jonathan LaPoma

California author Jonathan LaPoma not only writes novels (four to date) but also screenplays, poetry and songs! He earned his BA in history and a secondary education credential from the State University of New York at Geneseo, gathered ideas or seeds for future novels from his travels both the US and Mexico, began writing and winning awards for his works, and now teaches secondary school in San Diego. The handsome young artist explores themes of alienation and misery as human constructions that can be overcome through self-understanding and the acceptance of suffering. His novel UNDERSTANDING THE ALACRÁN (in ways, a prequel to his DEVELOPING MINDS) won the silver medal in the 2017 Florida Authors and Publishers Association President's Awards (Contemporary/Literary category). His most recent novel THE SUMMER OF CRUD, is in essence is the prequel to Jonathan’s other two novels. His earliest novel A NOBLE TRUTH sets all the promises of his creativity as a novelist cum humanitarian and reflects his earlier travels to Mexico.

Jonathan's lyrical writing is evident as he opens his road trip in the format of a screenplay. To borrow a bit from the book’s plot synopsis, ‘Two estranged best friends, one a once-rising songwriter who mysteriously quit the music scene to return to his hometown of Buffalo, NY and work as an ice-machine repairman, and the other a Columbia School of Journalism dropout, take a road trip throughout the US and into Mexico to write a book about what truths unite people in a modern world slipping deeper into apathy and discord. But it's soon evident that on this quest for truth, truth is the last thing either man seeks.’

That is a fine summary, but what it does not allow is to feel the beauty of Jonathan’s writing style and the infectious manner in which he pulls us into this mélange. Conversations are raw, turgid, and right on the money, and just when the reader feels this is all dark comedy, Jonathan waxes poetic – and the change is seamless. This is yet another brilliant book from a very promising new author. He is swiftly becoming one of America’s important novelists. Grady Harp, March 18

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.