“Vichy Water” Author Calvin Barry Schwartz – Book Review

Calvin Barry Schwartz emerges on the scene of accomplished novelists with his debut work entitled Vichy Water, a heavily dense interleaving story of childhood friends of unique backgrounds finding trust and friendship in a changing world.

Schwartz draws from his personal life experiences many discombobulated accounts of places, events, cognitive development and spiritual awakenings and laces his characters with some, rather at times difficult to follow, ways of going through the world in their own set of reality. His work is very complex, often taking the reader on eddies of thoughts and events only to somehow tie together the prior experience in subsequent travels accounts. Having an intimate knowledge of Rutgers University, Schwartz sets many of the moments in New Jersey with the time period of the latter part of the past century, obviously from his personal recollection.

His personal travels draw upon details of foreign places known only to locals or perhaps the most acute of travelers, with an uncanny amount of minutia, and he shares the details of many diverse locations to backdrop his characters. Vichy was the capitol of the French collaborationist regime during World War II, being located in the south of France, as Germany occupied most of northern France. The region has been known for centuries to have water and mineral springs thought to have healing powers and revitalization qualities. The spirits of the characters are metaphorically immersed into the innate qualities of such a bottle of water.

Full of hidden meanings, intricate plots and subplots, views on scores of topics including sexuality, occult powers, extraterrestrial life, religious strengths and conflicts, racial and ethnic coexistence, and basic good versus evil, Schwartz weaves his views into a fabric of his interpretations. In a Herculean task of bringing his life experiences into the characters of Vichy Water, Schwartz carries the readers into his personal way of thinking. His thoughts are strung together as if on imaginary paths of logic, and he uses all opportunities to embellish the structure of the work to his fullest platform to articulate his experiences.

The cover art showing an original composition of a bottle, with a sepia tone streetlamp, two mysterious characters on a park bench all through the distorted diffracted light of a clear bottle of water is a very appropriate piece of work for the novel, and cradles the 380 pages in the surreal world it creates. This book is for the seasoned reader looking for something different and challenging.

Title: Vichy Water
Author: Calvin Barry Schwartz

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