“The Brubury Tales” by Frank Mundo is a unique style of story telling. Mundo has used the style of Chaucer’s epic poetry to narrate a collection of contemporary short stories based on those written by classical writers, including: Dostoevsky, Dickens, Boccaccio, O Henry, Poe, Twain, Gilman, Crane, Saki, Anderson, Bierce, and Khayyam’s “Rubaiyat.”
Expertly created characters reveal their personalities and perceptions through the stories. Each of Mundo’s characters participates in an impromptu contest designed to determine which member of the security team will qualify to get time off over the Christmas holiday.
The cast of characters is made up of seven individuals drawn together as the security team at the Downtown Holiday Inn in the weeks following the riots in the Watts area of Los Angeles.
Leo Kapitanski, a Russian Jew was in charge of the group. Strong, solid, muscular and virile, among the best of men, Leo had his own secrets. Second in command was Alex Loma who spent the shift asleep, described as a “detested…huge macho creep.”
John Shamburger relied on the phrase “It’s because I’m black” to rationalize his plight whenever he found himself on the losing side of an argument, however, John was genuine in his desire to make the world a better place.
Joe Dator, a Filipino, practical, quiet and stoic, worked hard to maintain his family life, while hiding a darker side. The narrator chose the name J. T. Glass to identity himself. J. T. has difficulty in discovering who he really is and describes himself as a pathetic coward. J. T. found himself smitten by a romantic interest in Rolla Amin, a student from Iraq. Rolla instead looked at him as a platonic friend.
The final member of the team is Darrin Arita, nicknamed “The Feet” - the youngest and shortest of the group, and was accepted as a notorious liar, who claimed to be a gifted protégé with God given gifts. J. T. considered Darrin to be not only his co-worker, but a good friend.
Mundo has captured the illusiveness that accompanies the familiar guarded attempt at intimacy. He understands there is a hesitancy to become vulnerable and completely honest when seeking friendships. Frank also provides insight into self-discovery and self-understanding.
This is a book that will entice the uninitiated to pursue reading the genuine classic stories that inspired “The Brubury Tales.” Readers of the classics will re-live the originals as they become addicted to Mundo’s amazing and unique narrative.
Frank Mundo, already an award winning author is well on his way to gaining recognition as an established literary writer. “Brubury Tales” is a brilliant blend of writing, combining the style of Chaucer while putting a new slant on the short stories of the classical writers.
The Brubury Tales
Infinity Publishing (2010)
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (07/10)