"REFRAIN" by Jason S Polley

ISBN: 978-988-19321-4-3.
Pbk. 88pp.
5.83 in. wide by 8.27 in. high.
Published by Proverse Hong Kong, November 2010.
Purchase and details link: refrain

Jason S Polley allocates his time to reading, scuba diving, practicing yoga, and getting tattooed. He began what was to become refrain in early 1997 while backpacking the Indian Subcontinent, but shelved it later that year to devote himself to the study and composition of academic prose. He returned to his lone work of fiction in order to meet the deadline for the 2009 Proverse Prize. Since 1998 he has lived in Guangzhou, Montreal, Bogota, Guayaquil and Hong Kong. He currently teaches American Literature and Culture at Hong Kong Baptist University.

refrain recounts the author's travels in India as an inexperienced and sensitive young man. The narrative shows wit, intelligence and a facility with words. The style is experimental and literary; and the fascination of the stories told – short stories in verse presenting the anxieties and misfortunes typical of shoestring traveling, and the culture-shock deriving from visiting a very different culture from ones own – carries the careful reader along. A knack for reading this less-than-conventional fast-paced book, which is at once humorous and nightmarish, passionate and detached, is acquired quickly.

A young man arrives in Delhi with a romanticized view of India, a pocketful of outdated maps, and a money belt begging to be stolen. We experience his battles with disgust and paranoia while moving through a rough and tumble city. Polley takes us along on a ride that feels cinematic, jammed with sensory explosions that rock the sensibilities.The reader is pulled into the text to experience the chaotic, disordered images of India. The stories work as a sprawling dramatic monologue, one that encompasses numerous states and territories. Polley paints on a large canvas and his brush strokes are fresh, memorable, and cutting edge. — Kirby Wright, Honolulu, Hawaii Author of Punahou Blues and Moloka'i Nui Ahina

Purchase and details link: refrain

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