Title: A Barren Stage: Collected Poems, Essays, Short Stories, and Novels
Genre: Short stories, Poetry, Essays
Published: April 6th 2021
Where I Got It: Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion.
Matthew de Lacey Davidson has written poems, plays, short stories, and two novels in a variety of styles and genres. This volume incorporates a new cycle of 99 sonnets; a collection of earlier poems which have been revised for this edition; his short story collection, "Roses in December: Haunting and Macabre Tales"; "The Worst Dogs - A Progressive Murder Mystery"; and an historical novel concerning civil rights leader Frederick Douglass' first trip to Ireland in 1845, "Precept - A Novel". "Precept" was voted one of the top ten self-published books of 2018 by thebookbag(dot)co(dot)uk.
I have read so much of this author's work that I was excited to be given this collection and asked to review it! Of course, I had to say yes! :D
This author really has a huge range. Not only do we have a huge collection of different genres, but we have a variety of poems, short stories, and essays. It is a nice collection of work and there is something for everybody.
It was nice to re-read some of the author's work like "The Worst Dogs". I read this last year and I liked it as much as I did back then. Even though I knew the ending, I still enjoyed re-reading this and looking for hints and clues I might have missed from my first time going through! It is such a good mystery that I still recommend it for sure!
The poems are amazing. They range from different topics and styles which is refreshing! I honestly found the few poems about the cats extremely heart-warming. They were my favorites I think!
The pieces that talked about social issues like race really spoke to me. The author truly knows how to show the reader and make the reader feel the words and emotions.
I did find the essays interesting to read. Some were more serious in nature and he goes through some topics that you have to be in the right mind for. I tried reading one right before bed and I could not focus on it. I had to read the essays during the day so I could fully stay focused.
One essay I really enjoyed was "In Defense of Minor Characters".In this, the author discusses the role of minor characters and why they may seem 2D or not as fleshed out as some people may want. *cough* I'll admit there are some side characters I feel are neglected and I want more story and development for them. BUUUUUUUUT that is just me being biased because I adored the side character (sometimes more than the hero ;) ). However, I really do side with the author and agree that sometimes writers have to limit the development for side characters because they have certain roles to play for the story. Also....no one has time to read 1,000 page books. I know I don't!
There is a LOT of content in this collection. From old stuff I have read to new stuff I couldn't wait to check out. I enjoyed this collection quite a bit! Like I said earlier there really is something for everybody. From emotional cat poems to serious essays about minor characters' roles in stories to a murder mystery! You will find something you like here! I'll admit there were some things that weren't for me, but I enjoyed this collection overall and I know I'll revisit some of my favorite pieces in the future. I'll stamp this with 4 stars.