Victor Love’s The End of War is a miscellany of dramatic scripts, poetry, letters, notes and observations.
The author’s longest work, “Qui Est Marcel?,” is a 16-page, two-act play set at a dinner party. During an elaborate meal, the guests discuss an apparently absent character and discourse on themes of existentialism, nihilism, authentic identity, and the meaning of life. In his prefatory remarks, Love claims his work represents “a step beyond the exploration of Becket [sic]” and other existentialist writers in that it suggests that “life might be worthwhile.” Indeed, Love’s play indicates that life is redeemable through art and love.
While the best entry in Love’s book, the play requires revision to make it workable. Although the language is sometimes evocative, it’s often bombastic: “[H]e thought he stood on the stilting songs of life. Watching, while the world went bolsteringly [sic] mad around him.” Love’s play also ends with a revelation that makes the work appear gimmicky.
The book’s eight poems, written in prose and free verse, range in subject from the author’s description of a street person to a list of existential wants: “We want to always feel the/ voice of angels.” Most of the wording is abstract and lacks the imagery to create a lasting impression. “…all our hopes/ Have been dashed for many months.”
The rest of the book mostly contains fragments from plays and stories, notes for future writings, and letters (some real, some fictional). None have the tangible realization necessary for publication, and many give the appearance of filler.
Indeed, the collection gives the impression of being assembled too quickly. A dramatic dialogue is repeated. The author frequently makes mistakes in word usage (“emanating” for “emulating,” “alter” for “altar,” etc.), and his manuscript is replete with typos and run-on sentences.
While the author appears to be well read, with a solid grounding in existentialism, this offering requires reworking before it would appeal to a general audience.
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