Forest Station by Mark William Lindberg ~ Book Review by Mel

ebook-forest-station-coverTitle: Forest Station

Author: Mark William Lindberg

Publisher: Self Published

Cover Artist: unknown

Rating: 5.00 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 02/24/2016

Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)

Genre: Fiction

Blurb:

A clearing in the woods hosts a series of displaced persons fleeing an unnamed disaster.

Structured as a series of short stories or vignettes, FOREST STATION follows not a character but a place, a clearing in the woods, as a stream of people all headed in the same direction take a few moments to rest on their various journeys and play out quiet scenes of interpersonal drama. At turns meditative, violent, and inspirational, the glimpses given into these lives in transition highlight shared human vocabularies of loss and recovery and put an intense focus on the details of behavior to consider the ways we treat each other when in crisis. And as the stories go on and start to take a toll on the architecture and life of the clearing, an outside presence begins to make itself known.

Mark William Lindberg, author of QUEER ON A BENCH and 81 NIGHTMARES queers the end of the world with this intricate work of meditative post-apocalyptica.

My View:

I’ve first become aware of Mark by reading this interview and sentences like “I’m going to break rules. I’m going to try new things. I’m going to approach my work with an open mind and an open heart, and I’d love a reader who can do the same!” were clearly written for me.
While QUEER ON A BENCH solely plays in the protagonist’s head while they is sitting on a bench, and 81 NIGHTMARES are exactly that, FOREST STATION, Mark’s newest experiment, is an observation of a small clearing in the woods, apart from civilisation, where, from time to time, people stumble through. They seem to be on the run or in search for something. I’m writing seem to be because I can’t tell you for sure. We are observing, there is no insight into the people, there is no dialogue, it’s like watching a silent movie.
This reading experience was fascinating and I’ve decided to let you join me in my journey while reading this book, which is structured by different episodes that take place one after another.

The Couple
Boy, is this descriptive -> I am too tired right now.
I’m curious about the possible opportunities of the set up, though. What will people from later chapters find in the clearing that the couple left behind or changed?
And what is in the backpack?
The crass thing is there are only descriptions. No language. No thoughts. No insights. That is really something. A lot of guessing is the result, but we can only rely on what actually is. As an observer, not much can be said with certainty. That is something to be aware of in general, methinks.
Who is the observer, the narrator, I mean? ”They didn’t see me at all? Nature? Someone?

The Young Woman
I think I’m getting used to the point of view of an observer. Small things are interesting now and can hold my attention. My imagination and curiosity is running wild. I wonder what her story is, her background, why she is in the clearing, and what’s with the strange clothing?
I can relate to her behaviour in this new place, the insecurity regarding the found objects the couple left behind.
I’m wondering who will come next, what’s gonna happen in this place that is setting and background for people’s life who aren’t connected otherwise. I’m wondering about parallels to real life. How am I connected with others via a place, a thing, that I don’t know about?
Another story of loss, it seems. Her twin sister is missing?
She takes the book and leaves her cellphone. That’s weird, actually. Why not take it to charge it later? She doesn’t seem to plan on going back to civilisation, maybe. But she takes the huge book that won’t even fit into her backpack.

The Family
This episode is so very hard to read. I don’t understand what is happening, or moreover, how the family’s relationship is. Especially this one person is hard to grasp. They has such a strange and even violent behaviour, so that I am repulsed and even a little afraid, but on the other hand, they kinda interacts normally with the daughter.
So this basically shows strongly how limited observations can be.
Shit, I still do not know everything. I only have guesses.

The Man
He is wounded and only stays for a few minutes. That’s all we know.

The Group of Friends
Heh! Why the fuck has this guy a gun? Oh the speculations… And what has he done? He seems to be a good guy and has this total breakdown that screams of remorse, but whyyyyy? I want to know! whines
I was sure they would leave the gun behind and some later visitor was gonna use it somehow, but…

The Crowd
I came to realise something: This is like watching a silent movie and from an artistic point of view totally interesting and part wise fascinating because of it, but it’s also like watching a movie without sound, which is really not ideal 😉
The crowd is overwhelming. There are so many different people and I can’t tell them apart. Nothing is really happening as well.
I notice an increase in the destruction of the clearing from episode to episode. I’d daresay when the crowd is gone, you won’t be able to recognise it at all. I mean, they even destroyed the green so the woman in the wheelchair could get into it, which kinda really pisses me off. It’s kinda really sad what has become of this secluded, hidden place over time.
What is this place? Is everyone lost who finds it? They all seem afraid, in search for something or running from it.

The Child
Gosh, this is incredibly heartbreaking. Why? Did they run away? Where they abandoned? Will they survive?

About me
lol WHAT??? I’ll have to read this page again. Maybe I’ll be back with more then.

Heh, still no clue how this connects to the rest. I’ll read the last short episode next and, well, we’ll see…

The Old Woman
OMG, just for a second there I thought they was dead… They isn’t. But will they survive? Will the fire destroy everything?

Going back to About Me
Mark William Lindberg is a queer author, artist, performer, and educator living with a man and a dog in Queens, NY.
He’s taking a break from writing and muses about how it would be if he himself was one of the people stumbling through the clearing.
What will they take with them when it’s time to leave? What will I? (…) When it’s time to leave I may not be ready.”


For the brilliant idea of the story alone, for the unique reading experience, and for the absolute masterful writing, FOREST STATION deserves all stars.

And if you are one such reader that Mark is wishing for as his audience, then FOREST STATION sure will be a unique journey that I recommend venturing on.

 

Links

Forest Station on Goodreads
Self Published
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

I would like to thank the author for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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