“Random” is the key word in defining James DeVere’s slim book, whose subject matter slips like mercury through the fingers at times, while occasionally solidifying with a message. This Australian artist and self-described “antipodean wordster” writes about urban myths, cautionary tales about death and his personal dreams, and then closes with four poems about love and “the stuff of the universe.”
The three opening Aussie myths involve vengeful venomous snakes that attack drivers who run them over, the danger of occasionally fierce koala bears, and the method for cooking a chicken next to the car engine as you drive (called “chicken-in-a-casket”). The author then moves to a somewhat stronger segment of three tales about death, which, like modern-day Aesop’s fables, teach lessons about greedy, self-centered adults who would have been better off living kinder, more fulfilling lives.
DeVere’s dream journeys section covers eight random dreams that are as erratic and inconclusive as one expects dreams to be. He talks of the drinking of blood, extraterrestrials, UFOs manufactured in Dubai, meeting with Raoul and Fidel Castro, teaching people to fly and more. The author’s short, free verse poetry then concludes on the subjects of energy, matter, antimatter and daring to love.
Overall, James DeVere Tales is, as he states, an amalgam of light reading material. It holds one’s interest only while the words are being read, but dispenses minimal substance to be contemplated later. The parts are not connected, and the author reveals only a spattering of information about himself. Though he mentions his art in passing, he never explains why he has chosen a .com address as a byline. Perhaps it was with the hope that curious readers would discover the art and photography he has to sell there.
People with limited time and a short attention span may appreciate this book’s airy tone and brevity. Serious readers are likely to avoid it.
Also available as an ebook.