Just Exactly How Life Looks

General Fiction

By Briane Pagel

Publisher : The Trouble With Roy

Just Exactly How Life Looks

ABOUT Briane Pagel

Briane Pagel
Full-time lawyer, part-time writer:  I look for the unique and funny aspects of life and try to write about... oh, who am I kidding?  I want to live a life where I do nothing but write, and when not writing, look out the window at my palatial Hawaiian estate where I've moved my family af More...



In Just Exactly How Life Looks you'll be introduced to unforgettable people living remarkable lives. Cowboys wander in a timeless desert. Scientists meet in secret to plot a new way to get attention, and money, from people. A man and his would-be lover try to find lions on safari, and more. The people and places in this book spring to life fully-formed and full of anxiety and imagination. They worry about the time they have had and the time they have left. They bury their loved ones and look for new friends. They talk and laugh and hope and cry and die, while their friends and family and enemies and Gods watch them, seeing, in their faces and actions and fears, a portrait of just exactly how life looks.

About the Author

Briane Pagel lives in Middleton, Wisconsin, with his wife, his five children. When he is not writing, which is most of the time, he's a consumer protection lawyer. When he is writing, which is only some of the time, he's dreaming up stories like this. Find out more about Briane at his blog, "Thinking The Lions," http://www.thinkingthelions.com, where you'll also find links to all his OTHER blogs.
If you're looking for a drawn-out, epic, story with intricate details, stop reading this review. If you're looking for a plot line that will turn on a dime in a "The Da Vinci Code" style, not only should you stop reading, but you probably should know a secret: when the plot of a story has a new "OMG CRAAAZZZYYY" twist on every page, it loses its novelty and sucks. No offense.

On the other hand, "Just Exactly How Life Looks" takes a unique approach on deep issues - religious, philosophical, familial relations - in a concise, easy-to-read style. Each story is short and can literally be read in 20-30 minutes and while you're reading it seems like a simple excerpt from the character's life. Then, without knowing exactly when or why, it dawns on you that each has a deeper message. They're like parables from the Bible in a practical format (without being preachy and canonical). The stories stick with you individually and when you finish the book in its entirety, the broader message of the collection reveals itself.

My favorites from the book: Sitting, Thinking the Lions, Atomic Timekeeping, & The Death of the Secondhand Cowboy. The final short story, Panorama, leaves you wanting more and the only reason it isn't in my list above is because I'm a Contrarian - it will probably be most people's favorite so it can't mine.