A Strange Time for Letters by Burn Marks

A never before perceived dimension to the most famous events in history. This book presents five short stories that seek to show a different side to these stories. The first short story is about Lee Harvey’s arrest after the Kennedy assassination and the reaction his mother Marguerite had. The same pattern is followed in the other four stories. The people dimension that was not sensationalized doused in humor. Other people whose lives were affected by these historical events but on whom the light never shone. 

Burn Marks definitely has a way with words. His sculpting of the English language borders on genius and simply brilliant. The result is a hilarious and charmingly witty product that the reader is bound to enjoy over and over. One such example is, “…steel coil apt to take one’s temperature…” There is a cruder way of passing that message but saying it like that is much more enjoyable. Another example is when the author said that Egypt was named for the pyramids he left around the house. How hilariously crafty is this use of the English language?

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These stories are more entertainment than a presentation of historical information for their structure. However, one cannot help but retain most of the historical information. The book would actually make great material for school. The casual writing style is approachable and one effortlessly retains information. The writer just has a way with the reader that makes the material captivating and engaging. There are only five stories each focusing on a different notable historical event. They force a different perspective and a different way of thinking. Not in a controversial kind of way though. These stories make for great exchanges and interesting conversations. 

The letters are actually quite interesting. They really do provide an explanation for the title of the book. They are written at the weirdest of times with the weirdest of intentions and even weirder material. The letters leave the reader wondering about the state of mind of these people. Such is the beauty of this book. It evokes interesting questions about these people whose lives are suddenly thrust into high profile and strange situations. 

The stories while great lack a smooth flow. They do flow but not as seamlessly as one would expect of a good story. The reader will get lost often in the flurry of activity. Marguerite can be confusing. She calls a newspaper so tat she can get some money out of it. On the other hand, she refers to Lee as her boy and it seems almost profound. This can leave the reader with a bit of whiplash. However, it is just a way fro the writer to deliver her character. 

The stories are captivating. They are hilarious. They refer to important time sin American history. Most of all they are short. That makes this book quite the perfect travel companion. Something light to delve into between lay overs or bus rides. Four and a half stars out of five for this book. It is a brilliant collection. The stories are like little bits of literary joy you are compelled to tuck in your wallet.

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