**REVIEW** Pieces Like Pottery by Dan Buri

Pieces Like PotteryTitle: Pieces Like Pottery

Author: Dan Buri

Genre: Contemporary fiction, short stories, drama

Date released: October 2nd, 2015

Length: 179 pages

Buy Links: Amazon UK Amazon US

Blurb: The first collection of short fiction from Dan Buri, Pieces Like Pottery is an exploration of heartbreak and redemption that announces the arrival of a new American author. In this distinct selection of stories marked by struggle and compassion, Pieces Like Pottery is a powerful examination of the sorrows of life, the strength of character, the steadfast of courage, and the resiliency of love requisite to find redemption.

Filled with graceful insight into the human condition, each linked story presents a tale of loss and love. In Expect Dragons, James Hinri learns that his old high school teacher is dying. Wanting to tell Mr. Smith one last time how much his teaching impacted him, James drives across the country revisiting past encounters with his father’s rejection and the pain of his youth. Disillusioned and losing hope, little did James know that Mr. Smith had one final lesson for him.

In The Gravesite, Lisa and Mike’s marriage hangs in the balance after the disappearance of their only son while backpacking in Thailand. Mike thinks the authorities are right—that Chris fell to his death in a hiking accident—but Lisa has her doubts. Her son was too strong to die this young, and no one can explain to her why new posts continue to appear on her son’s blog.

Twenty-Two looks in on the lives of a dock worker suffering from the guilt of a life not lived and a bartender making the best of each day, even though he can see clearly how his life should have been different. The two find their worlds collide when a past tragedy shockingly connects them.

A collection of nine stories, each exquisitely written and charged with merciful insight into the trials of life, Pieces Like Pottery reminds us of the sorrows we all encounter in life and the kindness we receive, oftentimes from the unlikeliest of places.

REVIEW **** (4* rating)

As a regular reader of romance novels, Pieces Like Pottery is quite a refreshing change from the romantic version of love as it delves into different variants of love, such as the love felt for a relative, a best friend and mentor, and even the love/pride we have for our career and the way in which it can bring us to care for others that we meet with regularly. There are certainly many ways to love, and to feel loss of a different kind, which is what Pieces Like Pottery explores within its nine short stories.

From reading the first story alone (The Gravesite) I found it to be thought-provoking and inspirational. I imagine the author to have philosophical viewpoints as I felt that is what comes across in the writing in some places, and it is also extremely emotional. As the reader continues there is more of the same with different scenarios which really do make the reader open their mind and consider life in a very deep and meaningful way.

I found Expect Dragons to be deeply moving. Not accepted by his own father due to his sexual orientation, James finds a lifelong friend in his teacher, Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith also appears to be his mentor, teaching James about life as well as his academic work. Only now, James has one last chance to meet with his teacher before he dies. Little does James realise there is one last lesson in store. Told as a story with a beautiful lyrical poem it will be impossible not to react emotionally.

The book overall explores situations that are ‘bigger’ than us. Events that we have little or no control over. And then goes on to question why we worry about them once they have taken place. It explains how it is only how we react and learn from these events that we can actually control, and shows on occasion how we can sometimes allow trivial moments to take over our overall mood. Learning to grasp the important things and be patient with, or let go, of the more meaningless is something we all need to be reminded of sometimes. It is usually at times of loss, or thereafter when we reflect, that we notice this more strongly.

I’d recommend Pieces Like Pottery when in a thoughtful mood. Perhaps when needing a relaxing moment after a manic and busy time. It will certainly bring you back down to earth, help you reflect on your own relationships and possibly even empathise with those around you. As it does connect with its reader on a very personal and conscious level, I found that the section Breathe is exactly what you’ll need to do as it is a little heavy at times. Maybe this was due to my mood and mind-set at the time of reading as I found myself needing small breaks in-between the stories. However, no one can fault that it is written well and covers many scenarios in whereby we as people feel a sense of loss at times throughout our lives.

Despite the strong feelings of love and loss throughout, I find it ended leaving the reader with a sense of hope. This enlightened the atmosphere immensely, and I did leave Pieces of Pottery with a reassuring smile as I felt gratitude for all those close to me who have touched my life. The strong characters from The Ballad of Love and Hate made these feelings possible, and also provide a sense of patience.

This book is certainly worth a read and will provide you with a life lesson due to it’s realism, emotion and strength.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

You can check out an excerpt of Expect Dragons here.

AUTHOR BIO

Pieces Like Pottery Dan BuriDan Buri’s first collection of short fiction, Pieces Like Pottery, is an exploration of heartbreak and redemption that announces the arrival of new American author. His writing is uniquely heartfelt and explores the depths of the human struggle and the human search for meaning in life.

Mr. Buri’s non-fiction works have been distributed online and in print, including publications in Pundit Press, Tree, Summit Avenue Review, American Discovery, and TC Huddle. The defunct and very well regarded Buris On The Couch, was a He-Says/She-Says blog musing on the ups and downs of marriage with his wife.

Mr. Buri is an active attorney in the Pacific Northwest and has been recognised by Intellectual Asset Magazine as one of the World’s Top 300 Intellectual Property Strategists every year since 2010. He lives in Oregon with his wife and two-year-old daughter.

*Promo w/Excerpt* Pieces Like Pottery by Dan Buri

Pieces Like PotteryTitle: Pieces Like Pottery

Author: Dan Buri

Genre: Contemporary fiction, short stories, drama

Date released: October 2nd, 2015

Length: 179 pages

Buy Links: Amazon UK Amazon US

Blurb: The first collection of short fiction from Dan Buri, Pieces Like Pottery is an exploration of heartbreak and redemption that announces the arrival of a new American author. In this distinct selection of stories marked by struggle and compassion, Pieces Like Pottery is a powerful examination of the sorrows of life, the strength of character, the steadfast of courage, and the resiliency of love requisite to find redemption.

Filled with graceful insight into the human condition, each linked story presents a tale of loss and love. In Expect Dragons, James Hinri learns that his old high school teacher is dying. Wanting to tell Mr. Smith one last time how much his teaching impacted him, James drives across the country revisiting past encounters with his father’s rejection and the pain of his youth. Disillusioned and losing hope, little did James know that Mr. Smith had one final lesson for him.

In The Gravesite, Lisa and Mike’s marriage hangs in the balance after the disappearance of their only son while backpacking in Thailand. Mike thinks the authorities are right—that Chris fell to his death in a hiking accident—but Lisa has her doubts. Her son was too strong to die this young, and no one can explain to her why new posts continue to appear on her son’s blog.

Twenty-Two looks in on the lives of a dock worker suffering from the guilt of a life not lived and a bartender making the best of each day, even though he can see clearly how his life should have been different. The two find their worlds collide when a past tragedy shockingly connects them.

A collection of nine stories, each exquisitely written and charged with merciful insight into the trials of life, Pieces Like Pottery reminds us of the sorrows we all encounter in life and the kindness we receive, oftentimes from the unlikeliest of places.

AUTHOR BIO

Pieces Like Pottery Dan BuriDan Buri’s first collection of short fiction, Pieces Like Pottery, is an exploration of heartbreak and redemption that announces the arrival of new American author. His writing is uniquely heartfelt and explores the depths of the human struggle and the human search for meaning in life.

Mr. Buri’s non-fiction works have been distributed online and in print, including publications in Pundit Press, Tree, Summit Avenue Review, American Discovery, and TC Huddle. The defunct and very well regarded Buris On The Couch, was a He-Says/She-Says blog musing on the ups and downs of marriage with his wife.

Mr. Buri is an active attorney in the Pacific Northwest and has been recognised by Intellectual Asset Magazine as one of the World’s Top 300 Intellectual Property Strategists every year since 2010. He lives in Oregon with his wife and two-year-old daughter.

EXCERPT

From the short story “Expect Dragons

Between the two notebooks was a sheet of paper. At the top it read: “40 Tips for College and Life.” On the last week of high school, Mr. Smith handed out his college advice, the same college advice I was now holding. I sat and read through each of them.

            40 Tips for College and Life

  1. Life’s too short to not seize the opportunities with which we are presented. Always take the chance to do what you love when it comes along.
  2. Question authority.
  3. Question those who question authority.
  4. Don’t be afraid to see dinosaurs even when everyone else around you doesn’t.
  5. Be kind. Kindness can change things far beyond your wildest dreams. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it’s kindness that makes the heart grow softer.
  6. Walk barefoot through grass.
  7. Be quick to show compassion and empathy.
  8. Don’t dress like a bum all day long.
  9. Have a routine, but avoid being routine.
  10. Smile.
  11. We are all intelligent, thoughtful individuals. Don’t let others tell you something has to be that way. It doesn’t. The world is far too complex for it to have to be that way.
  12. Be conscious of the present. Time is your most valuable asset.
  13. It’s easy to doubt. Don’t be easy. Hold on to faith and hope.
  14. Love a little more. You can always love more.
  15. Don’t jump at the first chance to go out. There will always be another party. It’s college.
  16. Live with purpose.
  17. Not everything you do has to have a purpose. Folly can be quite satisfying.
  18. Don’t act like you know more than you actually do. There’s no shame in admitting you don’t know the answer.
  19. Remember that the things you do know are of value. Don’t act like you know less than you do. Share your knowledge.
  20. Don’t spend each day only staring at a screen. Put down your phone. Close your laptop. Turn off your TV.
  21. Share laughter. There’s far too much that’s funny out there to take yourself too seriously.
  22. Share tears. There’s far too much pain and hurt out there not to take others’ struggles seriously.
  23. Enjoy music.
  24. Remember to get lost in your mind from time to time.
  25. Breathe slowly.
  26. Don’t be afraid to be alone. Everyone knows: “Not all who wander are lost.” Few realize: Not all who are alone are lonely.
  27. Take in the beauty of nature. Look around you. Don’t take it for granted.
  28. Take in the beauty of mankind. Look around you and see how wonderful your neighbor can be.
  29. Dance in the rain.
  30. There will come a time in college, and in life, when you are presented with decisions that compromise your values. Know how you will respond to those times before they ever happen.
  31. Have resolve.
  32. Share excitement when you’re excited. People that hold that against you are most likely projecting their own feelings of inadequacy.
  33. Remember to read, and something more than a blog. Pick up a book from time to time.
  34. There is only one you.
  35. Laugh hard, kiss softly, disparage slowly, and forgive quickly. 
  36. Eat fully, drink deeply, and always remember to give often.
  37. Decide what you believe, know who you are and live accordingly. Don’t apologize to anyone for that.
  38. But if you realize later on that you were wrong, admit it. Ask forgiveness.
  39. Maya Angelou has a great quote: “If I’d known better, I’d have done better.” We can only do the best we know how, but there’s no excuse for not striving to attain the know-how. And there’s certainly no excuse for not doing better once we have it.
  40. Expect Dragons.

           I stared at the list thinking about how influential Mr. Smith was in my life. At a time late in my high school career when I felt lost and alone, he inspired me to believe life was full of wonder and hope. Now, just two hours before, I found out he was dying. I placed the list back into its box and slid into the front seat of my borrowed car. It was 4:25 in the afternoon and I eased the car onto the I-84 heading east, on my way to say goodbye to my beloved teacher one last time.