By: Paul Lomax
Published by: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: April 25, 2022
Reviewed by: Lily Andrews
Review Date: May 5, 2022
Mystery, emotion, and drama fire up author Paul Lomax's finely-wrought collection of short stories and poems consequently demanding spontaneous attention.
Amygdala Blue is an eclectic anthology of short stories and poems that challenge readers to reflect on their own lives and choices. Here, Lomax explores a myriad of themes that include, love, loss, courage, choices and their consequences, fortitude, and hope. The author has carefully intertwined the stories with poems that challenge readers to think deeper into the subject matter of each entry. The collections vary in length and tone depending on the plot and themes raised.
Across the poetic entries, Lomax at times uses satire and witticisms to create a dramatic effect. Further, the perfect enjambment present creates a sharp tonal shift between the lines resulting in a great reading experience and constant reflection. Taken together, the short stories and poems illuminate contemporary conflicts and perspectives.
Most poems are free verse, while a few others are lyrical, often focusing on the persona's trail of thought. In others, the persona contemplates on a variety of issues found in everyday life. At times, the poems evoke a somber tone summoning a realization of the surrounding environment. One entry, "Lost to Follow Up," carries a sense of perseverance and resolve as one man is forced to confront his weaknesses which have had dire consequences in his life. Similarly, the short story entries are enrapturing and engaging as the author invites us to the first beguiling tale about the protagonist's mother and her struggles, and having a close friend, the Holy Spirit, who helped him through his mother's death. Elsewhere, Lomax has successfully used ebonics in "Durn my Hide," to make the story vivid and relatable. Some of the entries focus on the struggles that the Black race faces including striving for equal rights and acceptance in the country.
Other collections prove to be quiet, situational forays such as "Symphony of Clouds" along with another entry, "The Unborn Salt," as they address conflict and broken relationships. In another, "Testimony," a meditative soliloquy dominates the entire story as the protagonist ponders the relationship between life and religion.
The text mainly focus on three issues: religion, racism, and relationships. Although primarily focusing on the Black community, readers of all walks of life will find pieces of themselves herein due to the expansive range of topics that the text addresses. Joy, sadness, pensiveness, and uncertainty take up the two genres in equal measure and with remarkable clarity enhancing introspective reading.
The lustrous portrayals aptly evoke vivid experiences, delivering the triumphs and loss of the human spirit in relatable terms. With vibrant imagery and dynamic prose, these two genres will collectively come to life in a reader's mind. With an expansive use of stylistic devices along with Lomax's ability to cross genres harmoniously, Amygdala Blue will be a welcome addition to any bookshelf. Primarily written for adult audiences, this anthology is likely to capture any reader's heart and soul.
Quill says: Amygdala Blue is an arresting compilation of short stories and poems that encourages readers to think beyond the literal gratification and examine the deeper meaning of this collection.
For more information on Amygdala Blue, please visit the publisher's website at: atmospherepress.com/