Why I Like Realism

I call myself a realist though most of my poetry rides on the wings of imagination. I know realism is boring and harsh; modern writers have almost abandoned it but it is ironic that this hypocritical world cannot do away with realities of life that stand before us every single day. However hard we may try to escape them, we can’t eliminate them. Who would like to read about them?

Before you conclude that literary realism is dead, I would like to introduce you to an outstanding book that I stumbled upon recently. When characters accept their imperfections, when they struggle to survive and show the willingness to turn back yet feel entrenched in the situation and no Godfathers come to save them – such stark realism would lack excitement. Strangely I didn’t find this to be true. I am amazed at the relevance of this story, so close to real life.

40179809._SY475_‘It’s A Long Way Down’ by Ian Canon is a realistic and honest saga of David, who had a loving wife, a successful career and the much-awaited award of excellence yet he let himself wander into the darkest alleys of addiction. He couldn’t answer his own question – why? Was it for pleasure, arrogance or escapism? “Success can be suffocating, happiness is hard,” he tries to justify his actions. As David slithered deeper into the abyss of self-imposed addiction, his body tried to react, sending signals of resistance, self-awakening hits him and his efforts to restrain himself are superbly narrated. Despite the theme, this book is brilliantly written, with each detail that keeps you spellbound, making you wonder – what next? What would be the end, detesting the obvious outcome that could be anybody’s guess!

Canon’s style of writing is perceptive, breathing the right emotion into the situation, he shares the depths of despair, the crevasse of self-doubt; human flaws stare at your face, mixed emotions of anger and angst gnaw at your bones, making you the mute spectator of desperation. With no help in sight, this lone journey of an addict is an eye-opener for all those weak-minded individuals who seek pleasure in momentary joy or misuse drugs. David may not evoke sympathy but exemplifies a scaffold of perfect doom.

Ian gets into the mind of his characters, each one perfectly drawn and understands relationships quite well. His delectable prose mitigates the curse words that may seem necessary for the junkies. The book ends on an exquisite note, leaving much to the imagination of the reader, hinting at the power of hope. I am amazed how such a dreary topic could be converted into an excellent book.
© Balroop Singh

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30 thoughts on “Why I Like Realism

  1. Balroop, I wouldn’t either have put you down in the box of realism. Wings of imagination sounds
    right. However, I do also see that our dreams and imagination is based on real time events and emotions.
    Your book review is very good and tempts us in ta find out what really troubled David. Maybe we won’t understand….


    1. I may fly to the horizon Miriam but I do come back to real life as most of my work is connected with emotions. Realism keeps us grounded and a healthy mixture of fantasy and realism is good. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  2. When I read your blog title in my email, I was surprised. It looked to be a detour to your usual posts 🙂 I thought, “Balroop is keeping us on our toes.”
    This book sounds intriguing. It sounds like one I would enjoy. Thanks for sharing your reading experience with this book as I’m sure it will be valuable to many (as it is to me).

    1. Haha! Nice to hear that Lisa. This book is an eye-opener and really stirred my emotions otherwise I post the book reviews on a separate page I have for them. 🙂 Happy reading dear friend.

    1. Yes Jacquie, that is the sole reason I have highlighted this book here. I hope it would deter many from the dungeons of addiction. With marijuana being made legal leisure drug here in California, you never know what the consequences would be, as E cigarettes are before us!

  3. It’s easy to escape to Fantasyland and it serves it’s purpose too. Most cinemas were also meant for the same. Things are changing, many prefer the reality not intending to escape.

    1. Fantasy and realism may appear to be two extremes but they are like banks of the same river, life tries to balance itself between the two, flowing as well as floundering. Which one do you like arv?

  4. So you don’t think my love of HEA would be satisfied with this book? I love stories of troubled people who pull themselves out. I’ll have to check Amazon and see if this one qualifies.

  5. Hi Balroop, Your word “realist” reminds me of my latest description of myself “pragmatic.” Yet always “on the wings of imagination.” I ended up curious on the phrase “self-imposed addiction.” Addiction is a complicated topic and only an Addict could tell their specific story and have some insight to other junkies. I can see how it stirred your emotions. Thank you for a wonderful review!

    1. Erica, I believe most addictions are self-imposed because the choice lies with us. Having said that, I also understand that one needs determination and strength of mind to keep away from temptations that wreck human body and mind. Experts say that those who fall into such wells and keep slithering down don’t have the rational nerve/voice that could prevent them or save them; that’s why they need help and even after that a strong mentor who constantly monitors their progress.
      Most addicts keep their pain to themselves or lack the words and expression to share. Yes, only they can describe the travails so well as this book shows. Thank you for coming over to share a thought-provoking perspective, much appreciated.

      1. Thank you for your thoughtful response, Balroop. I agree how we ultimately make the choices throughout our entire life. Unfortunately, many people struggle with many issues. Always nice to connect with you and your writing. Have a great week!

  6. Yes balroop we can write poetry, have much imagination in our heads and be well grounded. I believe it’s key, it allows us to stay balanced.
    Thank you for sharing this book with us, looks like you appreciated it a lot.
    Addiction is a plague but a subject we should all know about.

  7. You make this book sound utterly fascinating, Balroop. It’s a hard topic, so I’m glad it ends with some hope. Thanks for sharing your insightful review. 🙂

  8. Nice review, Balroop. I like realism too (like you, perhaps I write at times with romanticism and some fantasy, but realism is at the core). I enjoy reading books of realism if it’s not ALL dark – if light can be found in the edges (or the center). Sounds like this book fits the bill.

    1. Thank you Pam. I like the way you express the desire to see light…yes! even if it is there lurking at the edges, we could pull through. Lovely thought. 🙂

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