Alternative-Read.com: REVIEW: Glimpses of a Floating World | Larry Harrison | Smashwords.com

REVIEW: Glimpses of a Floating World | Larry Harrison | Smashwords.com

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Title: Glimpses of a Floating World
Author:  Larry Harrison
Publisher: http://www.smashwords.com/
Genre: Fiction
Publication Date: 2009
Length: Kindle version, 1018 pgs
Format: eBook

Reviewer: Clayton Bye
http://www.claytonbye.com
Alternative-Read.com

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It’s 1963. London. A young man hears about the assassination of JFK but is untouched. He sees himself as being free from government and the trappings of a working world. In fact, he’s proud he has never held a job in his life. It’s enough to be in the moment, on his current fix of doctor prescribed heroin or cocaine. His place, his culture, is the hangout of the drug addict and prostitute.

[His friend] “Jack Fitt told him that the Japanese called their eighteenth century red light districts the Ukiyo, the Floating World. Ukiyo was the transitory world of sense-pleasure; illusory, devoid of lasting satisfaction. Soho was an Ukiyo, a floating, insubstantial domain of cinemas, erotic dancers and street prostitutes. It was the secret territory of heroin and cocaine, where you could float through the city in the night, drifting through the crowds in a post-orgasmic, weightless state. But, like the Japanese Ukiyo, it was also the world of suffering, when the illusion of gratification slipped away and the raw flesh screamed for solace.”

But Ronnie “Fizz” Jarvis hasn’t experienced the screaming of flesh. Sure, he’s lost weight during his year as an addict and his body definitely tells him when another fix is needed. But Ronnie has been very successful at managing his prescription so that he can buy or sell drugs as he needs them. Now, all that is about to change. Ronnie is picked up by “Old Bill” when he’s carrying opium (for smoking), which isn’t on his prescription, and he ends up in a prison hospital in a padded room. This sets off a chain of events that cannot end well—and doesn’t.

Larry Harrison, an expert on drug and alcohol problems, has written a unique story about the making of a drug addict who finds his strange, “floating” world to be more enjoyable than anything he has ever known. We see it all from inside his experiences, hoping at some point he’ll make a better decision, that he’ll turn a corner leading him away from the illusion-filled, deadly world that was Soho in the early sixties.

This self-published debut novel is not a happy read, but it is an interesting and informative one. Set in a time when pressure was being put on London’s police force and on Scotland Yard to make heroin and cocaine illegal, London only had somewhere between three and four hundred registered addicts. But government scandals and a growing underworld acted as a barometer of the coming storm. Think of Harrison’s novel as a microcosmic study of that time.

Another aspect of Glimpses of a Floating World that I appreciate is the book is flawlessly edited, something you rarely find in the world of self-publishing. Perhaps this is due to the author’s membership in the Year Zero Writers’ group.

Nicely done.

Copyright © Clayton Clifford Bye


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