Carlos Bulosan, was one of those writers I heard about in my household many time over, as his boos spoke to my mother generation and every generation of Filipino after that. His book, America Is in The Heart, is his probably his mostly widely known and read book and for good reason. It spoke of growing up but also of the American spirit of adventure and how this need for discovery has shaped all of us, and those who are enamored with it, such as the characters in that book. I might be overstating it, but it inspired many immigrants from the Philippines to come to America, not necessarily the book itself, but the idea of a better life, which was the promise America was.
This sense of adventure is not uncommon to the world, but it holds a special part within our national identity. In Manifest Destiny, the adventures of Lewis and Clark, has been given new life, as they are retold with supernatural elements. The need for the characters in Stand by Me, to go on a journey to see a dead body, encapsulates this drive. In Basewood, Alec Longstreth crafts a tale which intersperses this human need with the ever so short cycle of life.
In the opening pages, we meet Ben, who has just woken up, disorientated, no knowing who he or where he is. He soon encounters a wolf like dragon which chases him until an old man saves him, by the name of Argus. Together the two men live together, for a while learning how to survive this vast forest. Before long, Ben feels a need to leave, and in another encounter with the dragon, is saved by his wife., who soon helps him remember who he is and how he got there. By the end of the book, the need to leave the forest drives Ben and his wife with their now newborn child, to leave once again, bringing Argus, with them, but not all ends as expected and a bittersweet ending, is what the reader ultimately gets.
Overall, an epic journey, one which tested men’s wills, and their innate sense of survival, and one where the reader realizes every one’s journey is both same and different. The story by Alec Longstreth is very much heartfelt, tender, has moments of levity, and shows redemption is ultimately attainable for anyone. The art by Longstreth is vivid and lifelike. Altogether, a story which allows you to feel a range of emotions and will forever change the reader.
Story: Alec Longstreth Art: Alec Longstreth
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy