Song of George: Portrait of an Unlikely Holy Man

General Fiction, Poetry, Science Fiction & Fantasy

By Jesse S. Hanson

Publisher : All Things That Matter Press

ABOUT Jesse S. Hanson

Jesse S. Hanson
I am a North Dakota (rural Midwest USA) native, writer/musician, currently living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. I've also lived for a considerable time in the Pacific Northwest (USA) and briefly in the Southwest (USA). So I suppose restlessness is a part of my nature. I'm never quite a More...


Song of George/Portrait of an Unlikely Holy Man is a novel in two parts about an enlightened soul, spiritually, who simultaneously suffers from a severe mental illness. The story has him incarcerated in a Federal prison mental ward, where he has a uniquely profound impact on his fellow inmates/patients.
From an author’s note in the introductory material:

“Out of empathy for the many unfortunate souls, incarcerated with long sentences in prisons, for behavior they are incapable of amending, and who are in need of thoughtful and careful treatment, in more appropriate institutions, I have chosen to imagine the character of George. My beloved Master, Ajaib Singh, used to say, ‘God comes as a man. If he came as an animal we would not be able to understand his language. If he came as a ghost we could not see him.’

The imprisoned characters in this story are men. There are those who would call some of them less than men, or perhaps even call a few of them other than men. But men they are. Men who for one reason or the other cannot understand or cannot conform to mainstream society, and therefore cannot survive in any mainstream society. If God came to them as a man of any mainstream society, it is possible that they would not be able to understand him. If he came as a ghost, some of them may be able to see him, but the understanding issue would likely still exist.”

Thus the novel is somewhat of an allegory, with the prison representing the greater prison of the material world which we all inhabit. The “thoughtful and careful treatment” that I mentioned above would, of course, benefit such people, but could never be a total remedy for their suffering.
Some of the story unfolds through a series of interviews with the inmates who are incarcerated with the character, George. These are conducted by a team of paranormal psychology students. But the story is larger than the interviews, and the scenes are not confined to the prison only.

There are many characters who inhabit the world of George, both within the prison and without. He is ultimately their rescuer, certainly not in any worldly way, but rather in a spiritual sense. Yet George, who is steeped in humility, sees himself as only the bearer of a gift that he was given by his benefactor, a man who found him in a city park, where he lay, beaten and barely conscious, and rescued him.
In time George is released from the prison and Part 2 of the book deals largely with George and other characters on the “outside”.
All in all George seems to be an appropriate characterization, since his character is in keeping with the nature of the great spiritual figures throughout history, in that they have taken on the suffering of the child, humanity.
Song of George is somewhat experimental in style, in that there is often no traditional narrator, the scenes themselves carrying the narration, not unlike scenes do in a motion picture. Song of George is spiritually inspired, but not religious in nature.

Suppose you were standing, like a tourist protected by a guardrail, over an opening into the pit of hell, when suddenly the sturdy rail gave way and you tumbled in. You wouldn’t know why  consumed with fear or anger and surrounded by utter misery, it wouldn’t make any sense to you. Yet the fate of many of the poor souls in our prison mental facilities is not so very different from that scenario, their crimes often resulting from the effect of some form of mental illness. And who can help them? Most of us, including the doctors and psychiatrists, are ultimately helpless in finding any satisfactory solutions other than confinement. Ultimately, the only source of real hope is divine intervention. Enter George. Call him what you will; a messenger, a friend, a saint, or even a modern day incarnation of God, albeit a reluctant one, with a mission that concerns his fellow inmates, the unloved unfortunate characters of a Federal Prison mental ward.

I loved it — was deeply moved by the story and by how incredibly deftly you have woven the truth of the Path and its universal teachings into this unlikely scenario in a prison mental ward.
…it’s a paean to the courage of the human soul and what beauty can be wrought out of chaos when a Godman appears among us.

— Helen Perkins — Initiate devotee of the great Sant Mat Master, Kirpal Singh Ji since 1966


… the turn of mind of the author was such a different view than I have or have experienced from others. This I enjoyed tremendously.
… It was sometimes so visual and so intense–so dramatic–that I imagined I was watching a movie as I read.

— Dr. Sylvia Sholar — Emeritus, Communication Studies,California University of Pennsylvania


The following is from my editor at ALL Things That Matter Press

… Jesse! I absolutely LOVED “Song of George” – very unique writing style and voice you have …

Oh, and thank your for the appreciation of the editing work – it was a
pleasure. … well-written (even though it took me a minute to adapt to your
“style” and try and figure out how to keep the voice but temper it with a
modicum ot “acceptable” grammar, lol and wink) … it was just a matter of
polishing and tweaking for the most part.

— Marvin D Wilson —
Blog at: http://theoldsilly. com
Avatar Award Winning Author of Owen Fiddler
Tweet me at: http://twitter. com/Paize_ Fiddler


By Monica M. Brinkman, Author
The Turn of the Karmic Wheel, 2010
Into The Tunnel of Darkness, 2009

Jesse S. Hanson has presented a book, which delves into the very spirit of man.

Set within the constraints of a mental facility in our Prison System, it immediately draws the reader into a story told from the inmates’ point of view, narrated by a young journalist, hoping to gain facts surrounding prison life for the mentally ill.
What he finds in his search is an unbelievable story and nothing of what he has expected. Nor will it be what you, the reader, expect.
And as a reader, it brought forth compassion, understanding, heartfelt pain and much hope. The story contains both prose and poetry that intertwine setting the perfect harmonic melody as a background.

I would definitely pick ‘Song of George’ as one of the best stories I have read in ages.


A Curious and Beautiful Work, August 11, 2010

By J. L. Knox “Musical Chairs”(USA) – See all my reviews

This review is from: Song of George: Portrait of an Unlikely Holy Man (Paperback)

Enter George: Serenity graces a facility for the criminally insane.

...Song of George was outlined thoroughly and yet with enough subelty to allow for characters that exemplify nuances of humanity. This book was no easy feat to pull off; it would have been very easy for the subject to seem cliche or the characters to fall into stereotypical holes, but Song of George worked as a literary piece, in the most important way. Hanson created a journey that tackles the intimidating subject of spirituality with philosopher’s pragmatism and a mystic’s acceptance of the unknown. A curious and beautiful book.


A review

The author has some great insight into the problems associated with treating the mentally ill who have been dumped into the penal system. An allegorical tale about a Christ-like figure, this book will hold your interest, and touch an empathic nerve, more intensely the further you read. I highly recommend.                     Steve Hanson.