Book Reviews

Looking Beyond the Surface: Baring My Soul Review

By J.N Shildt

Published by Brown Sparrow Books 


149 pages

$8.99 Paperback

ISBN: 978-0578868912

Book reviewed by Kavita Khajuria

“All that angst that we feel is for a reason…”

With an intent to speak to those who want a “deeper connection with their emotions” – this book of poetry and short stories includes themes of pain, depression, worth, altered mental states, existentialism, and perseverance. Tones of empathy, compassion and nonjudgement resonate throughout.

The impact of childhood adversities include the lingering weight of melancholia, with a sense of invisibility and internal “demons dancing.” Imprisonment of the mind includes a sense of dissolution, depression and a “fevered mind.” Noting the costs, Shildt encourages abandonment of prolonged isolation. Existence is questioned, and the reader may sense the disorientation, search and a yearning for connection. “Love and Lust” notes the impact of unrequited love, with poetic communication of the intricacies of yearning, desire, and appreciation. The reader can hear mental intoxication – with the delights and dilemmas, and immersion and fusion. This is conveyed with directness and sensitivity despite the uncertainties or convictions – conveyed with reproach, defiant detachment, and self admitted insecurity and struggle. The concluding section encourages living in the ‘art of the moment’, with a personal take on karma and observations of the world. One can hear the quest for release, the evolving self, and an embrace of new beginnings.