Summer of the Masters – Joel Stottlemire

summer of the masters

This book was purchased by me. All thoughts are 100% my own.


Told in the heat of the Kansas sun, Summer of the Masters is about love and racism, lesbianism, a rock, domestic violence, Greek Gods, the power of flight, and one most unusual angel. It is a dream. It is a nightmare, and, with the last line, it is a reminder of our place in the Universe.

My Thoughts

Where to start? In the beginning we meet several different characters. The chapters told in each of their voices. I will name them, but don’t promise that the order is right. There’s Jilly, Ricky, Emily, Regan, and Hebe. And really, the book seems very disjointed at first. And in the beginning I thought it was a series of short stories, but like a complicated knot, the true story starts to emerge, and once it does, it’s complicated, dynamic and really thought-provoking. This book deals with multiple issues, but honestly, ones we all encounter or see or deal with in our personal lives. There’s love, death, homosexuality, racism, hate, fear, domestic violence, child abuse, insanity, and a touch of mysticism. And we’ll throw in some Greek goddesses for the fun of it. To be honest, I can’t say much of anything as far as the book itself goes because there’s too much tied into it. Much like the knot that was previously mentioned. I will say that I had no idea what I was getting into when I started the book, and when I finished I found myself really having enjoyed it, though honestly, there wasn’t much in the book that was super uplifting. I will say that the problem in the story DOES get resolved. The only part that I’m not sure I understand it’s placement were the Greek goddesses. I think the story would have been just fine without their involvement.

Mr. Stottlemire again writes a compelling book. This one is completely different from the other two of his that I’d read and reviewed. And really, I can’t place his style. It’s different but it really works for the worlds he creates. This story he wrote, REALLY was about the power of women. It isn’t because of lesbianism, even though that’s a part of the story, it’s because these women are strong. Every one of them in their own way. My favorite lines came from Margo and Hilly and I think they truly sum up the book rather well.

The girls watched Margo’s two faces.

The numb face cried slow tears while emotions rode up and down the well face. Hilly, who had appeared in the doorway to the kitchen, watched silently. Finally, Margo grunted and spoke, “I always said that, as a woman, I’d kill a motherfucker like that if I had the chance.”

“It is because Lenore is a woman that you did not.” Hilly said quietly.

So, now I have to ask myself, and I’m sure you’re wondering as well. Would I recommend this book. I would. And like his previous work, I have nothing to compare it to. But I would recommend it, and I would strongly urge people to finish it before passing judgement. Because like I said, in the beginning you’re given all these strings that seem so disconnected from one another, but when you come through to the end, you see all the interconnectedness and it’s a really well done story.

About the Author

Like many great storytellers, Stottlemire made his break in the short fiction market. After a run of more than twenty short science fiction and horror sales and a several years writing articles, Stottlemire turned his attention to longer works, producing the novella “Summer of the Masters” and the novel “Season’s of Fire” within a year of each other.

Stottlemire is most noted for the surprising range of his voice. While clearly a master of genera fiction, he shows no difficulty switching to character driven novels (Seasons) or highly symbolic allegorical work (Summer.) He is equally versed in poetry which he publishes occasionally in limited release.

A true polymath, Stottlemire has also found success as an artist, creating ethereal, half guessed landscapes that he describes as locations found “at the edge of the dream.” He is also owner of The Dryden Experiment, an independent publishing house whose catalog includes both fiction and graphic novels.

A long time resident of Kansas, Stottlemire lives at the Eastern edge of the Flint Hills, a space he describes as, “As unbounded as the horizon as close as the wind across your ear.”


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