I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
Author Lloyd Ratzlaff takes readers on a journey through a series of essays to see how the experiences and lessons we learn in childhood can shape our adult philosophy in the book “Backwater Mystic Blues”.
“Between the voids at the deepest and farthest reaches of our science, there is this eternal now…”
In this second suite of intimate essays, Lloyd Ratzlaff summons the secret hiding spots, makeshift rafts, and uncomplicated childhood joys that lay the foundations for adult philosophy. In tune with the vivid simplicities of the sensuous world and the honour of unassuming people, Ratzlaff explores the disguises shaped by religion, family, and memory as he recreates the discovery and illumination that his past has offered.
Whether you sit back and savour the ribald yarns of Sandra Dee or pick up a bit of Christian dating advice circa 1950s, remember, the tombstones are talking, and the child’s cookie box found in the river may contain miracle or misery—but you won’t know until you open it.
This was a really well-developed, engaging, and insightful read. The author immediately draws the reader in with experiences and stories of their childhood and the events that helped shape their outlook on life. The way the author was able to layer these memories and experiences with the lessons that they impart to the reader in a very layered and powerful way was great to see come to life on the pages of this book.
These essays and the themes they touch upon, from the power of religion and faith and how they can mask people and their intentions, to the power of discovery that comes from analyzing our past and the outcomes that came from particular experiences, made the reader feel connected to the author and their message. The real power of the author’s work comes in the aftermath of the reading itself, for the author’s words stick with the reader long after the essays are finished and the philosophical discussions that they draw out of the reader showcase the depth of the author’s words.
Memorable, thoughtful, and enlightening, author Lloyd Ratzlaff’s “Backwater Mystic Blues” is a must-read collection of essays that will keep readers engaged to the final page. The grand concepts and important themes the author draws upon and the relatability of the author’s memories will keep readers invested as the lessons and discussions that these essays bring out of us all keep the mind and heart racing. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!
About the Author
Lloyd Ratzlaff is the author of the literary nonfiction titles The Crow Who Tampered With Time, Backwater Mystic Blues, and Bindy’s Moon. His essays are also featured in several anthologies, including Sons and Mothers: Stories From Mennonite Men; Reading the River: A Traveller’s Companion to the North Saskatchewan River; and apart: a year of pandemic poetry and prose. A former minister, counsellor, and lecturer at the University of Saskatchewan, he has taught writing classes for READ Saskatoon, the Western Development Museum, and the University of Saskatchewan Certificate of Art and Design. He was a columnist for Prairie Messenger Catholic Journal through its last nineteen years of publication. He lives in Saskatoon.