Trying to drown out the sound of all distractions, dogs barking, pomodoro timer going, I will write to you my thoughts on Lilith by J.R Salamanca. I will write without revealing plot twists and turns, I will give you the basics, in and out, and will try and not give any spoilers. Because I hate spoilers.

Lilith was written in 1961 and made into a feature film starring Warren Beatty. The writing is poetic, and vivid. Salamanca paints a picture of both beauty and ugliness so well. With only giving few details in the way of this book, the story’s setting is a small town bordering Maryland, set a little after the end of World War II. The main character is intriguing and flawed, the character that the book is named after is spriteful, young, and lives at Poplar Hill.

The book is a well written story of love, war, obsession and trauma. It speaks well of the flights of one’s mind when left to its own reality. It does well in its cardinal lessons and reveals an intriguing plot with many well defined characters. As stated before, the scene is clearly painted from the first page, and the writer sets an early tone that fits well with the overall feeling of this book.

I will say that the book takes on fringe issues and gives an uninformed reader a historical view of what one would call madness. Though it’s a clear sign of the time it was written, it branches racism, and inequality, as well as those with altered states quite well.

The story is a lovely one. The writing is not playful, almost brutal. Salamanca does not dance in this hallmark novel. It is not light by any means. Yet, it remains entertaining. It is brutal, it is beautiful, it depicts its subjects well. It is a both timeless theme and a discretionary tale. Lilith should be widely read, and understood. Almost required reading for some who would like to pursue the profession of understanding the mind.

 

Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly. His new book is Train of Thought.

 

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