Oz – One of the most famous literary images to cross over into the dark streets of the real world . . .
Oz – The symbol for all things other. Over the rainbow. At the far end of the yellow brick road. In the shadowy parts of the brain. Where the witches and the wizards and the flying monkeys are . . .
Oz – something that transcends childhood, adulthood, here, there, inside, outside, the mind, reality . . .
Oz – They came down from the sky one night like baby spiders cast to the winds, tucked into pearlescent spiral shells suspended from parachutes made of no earthly silk.
Oz – the soil and fertilizer that Gerard Houarner uses to grow three substantial stories. Three amazing studies of how the mind, the imaginary and the real interact. And how they can blur and become fused.
No We Love No One
Bring Me The Head Of That Little Girl Dorothy
The Wizard Will See You Now
These stories will plant a seed of paranoia in your mind and weigh you down with suspicion. The next time you watch The Wizard of Oz after reading The Oz Suite, you will find yourself paying more attention to the gloomier scenes and looking for things that you might have not noticed before.
T.T. Zuma - Horror World, http://www.horrorworld.org/reviews.htm
What makes all of these stories work, and whew-boy do they work, is the unbridled honesty with which Gerard approaches his characters. None of them are what most of us would call “good” people; they are selfish, self-centered and perfectly willing to destroy the lives of others for their own ends. But at the same time, it is as impossible to hate them as it is to adore them unconditionally. Just like Dorothy, they are fractured and all they want to do is put the pieces back together in some way that makes a modicum of sense. The tragedy of it all lies in their inability to do so, but there is a sense of beauty and hope in the struggle itself.
In the end, this collection comes across as an exploration of off-kilter mental states What it is that drives us around the bend, over the (wait for it) edge (ha, tricked ya!). More importantly, how it must feel from the inside of the maelstrom. Gerard has granted us a view of people who have been torn from their moorings, set airborne on currents beyond their control and dumped into an uncertain land where the reality they have been presented with seems much more than a little bit unreal. These are lives dominated by confusion, pain, anger and fear. In other words, not too far off from what we all deal with daily.
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The Oz Suite is a trilogy of tales that is thought provoking and fascinating in its use of a classic fantasy film as a focal point in each story. It is an astute reminder of how often people carry a (winged) monkey on their backs.
Sheila Merritt - Hellnotes http://hellnotes.com/the-oz-suite-book-review/
Gerard Houarner fell to Earth in the fifties and is a product of the NYC school system and the City College of New York, where he studied writing under Joseph Heller and Joel Oppenheimer and crashed hallucinogenic William Burroughs seminars back in the day. He ended up as an uncivil servant at a state psychiatric center. Married in a New Orleans Voodoo Temple, he and his wife, writer and poet Linda Addison, reside in a house decorated in Nouveau African Native French Goth Tribal Fantastic atop a hill in the Bronx.
His publishing career so far includes four novels, over 240 short stories, and editing/co-editing credits on three anthologies. He serves as Fiction Editor for Space and Time magazine.
Fifty-plus years into life, he has come to believe he is the kind of person who as a child wandered away from the village while no one noticed, spent too much time in the wilderness, and these days is allowed to return only for ceremonial occasions or to scare the little children. He also believes, on cold and rainy days, that his purpose in life is to serve as an example for others, much like the crucified humans at the edge of the desert in the original “Planet of the Apes,” or the captured rebel gladiator slaves along the Via Appia in “Spartacus.” On better days, he sees himself standing at the crossroads of the psychological and the supernatural; the real and the surreal; the past, present and future; waiting for some thing to come along, take his soul and leave him with the voice to tell anybody who will listen the story of how it all happened.
He continues to write whenever he can, mostly at night, about the dark. For the latest, visit www.gerardhouarner.com