This is Ken Cormier's first published collection of prose and poetry. Ranging in mood from all-out hilarity to heart-stopping melancholy, this book utilises a consistent thread of music and rhythm to propel its language. Cormier's extensive background in percussion informs his writing at every level of the process. Simply put, Cormier brings performance to the page, and this is his one-man variety show. Cormier's stories peel back the layers of a bent suburban landscape, and his characters scratch and claw to find inspiration on the railroad tracks, to bear the absurdity of family dysfunction, to trade the bitterness of complacency for the thrill of total annihilation. The poems reinforce his over-arching themes, punctuating the text like rapid-fire epiphanies. The book's final and longest instalment, 'Havris and Malen', is the story of two brothers attempting to juggle fate, family, and friendship against a backdrop of unpredictable magic and a closet full of tired secrets. Similar in form to Gene Toomer's 1923 classic, 'Cane', Cormier's 'Balance Act' is a diverse blend of poetry and fiction, a hyper-speed, gear-shifting monologue for the schizophrenic masses.
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