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The Electric Affinities one of 9 Book Forum Highlights From Independent Publishers.

 

In the December-January issue of Book Forum The Electric Affinities one of 9 Book Forum Highlights From Independent Publishers section, page 51. Hurray and congratulations to Wade Stevenson!

  

Buy The Electric Affinities here

 

 

 
 Book Information:
 
· Paperback: 340 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-148-1
·  $18
 

  

  

The Electric Affinities by Wade Stevenson Book Preview

 

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The Electric Affinities by Wade Stevenson reviewed

  

 

A book worth reading for the life lessons it recalls, in spite of the ironic fact that the protagonists of this story, by nature of their privileged circumstances, seemed to have been largely exempted from the initiations of life’s burdens and responsibilities at this point in their lives.  It’s the reader’s own hindsight that completes this portrait of an era, set in the summer of 1969. The story revolves around the emotions, observations and uninhibited interactions of a group of young and casual socialites that come together in the Hamptons-Sag Harbor scene and end up hashing out their attractions, impulsive philosophies of man-woman relationships, daydreaming and experimenting with a degree of urgency.

The notion of any memoir of what it was like to be young and engaged in the summer of 1969 gets confused with the grandiosity of myths about the counterculture. But here, the author assures us that being an unformed romantic youth, full of yearning and naïve aspirations, self-indulgent and ardently single-minded,  was no different then, than it is now. Friends give you trouble instead of companionship and family seems indifferent to your real métier.

The narrative flow in this novel reminded me of watching an Eric Rohmer film! Here are the quotidian moments of hanging out on the beach but contemplating the attainment of being elsewhere, moving around at vacation pace, but psychologically sprinting. They strain to be intelligent and articulate, winning over the admiration of their peers, but they frequently fail to live up to their own desires to connect with each other.  There is the contrast between what the characters say and what they are actually doing, and how things turn out, that fuels the drama.

I gave it 5 stars because it’s a great study in social collisions, one which perfectly describes why the baby boomers were also wistfully dubbed the me generation.

— Jane Stevenson

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The Electric Affinities by Wade Stevenson reviewed by Kirkus Reviews!!!

The Electric Affinities by Wade Stevenson reviewed by Kirkus Reviews!!!

The Electric Affinities by Wade Stevenson reviewed by Kirkus Reviews!!!


A free-love opus set in a bygone era. Ben Steinberg, a successful architect, hosts a collective of artists and free-spirits in his Sag Harbor, N.Y., house in 1969. Among the damaged but earnest people that move through his home are Andre, a director; Robert, a Vietnam War veteran; Carolina, a spiritual youth endeavoring to live without restraint; and Maya, the apex of a romantic triangle that consumes her suitors. The plot follows a fairly straightforward design: As the year progresses, each character wrestles with their own particular demons. Robert’s disenchantment with the world is reified in his aversion to visiting his wealthy grandmother, the woman who raised him; for Carolina, it’s an evolving quest to live as freely as possible that, eventually, takes her away from Sag Harbor. But the plot, as it is, feels secondary here. The real tension comes from within. Working with a true ensemble cast, Stevenson explores the radical aspirations of each of his characters while balancing them against the dramatic irony of a world that didn’t turn out quite the way it was supposed to. Perhaps the best stand-in for the contemporary reader is Robert. He may have been disillusioned by his experience overseas (as readers may have been by the course of history), but he yearns for some kind of meaning in his life, something true to aspire toward. The same goes for everybody in the novel; amid pain and loneliness, they look for some kind of purpose in a world that doesn’t seem prepared to accept them. It’s a familiar enough theme for books set in the late 1960s, but Stevenson’s effortless prose brings a freshness to what could otherwise have easily been a trite tale of hippie naïveté. He laces the story with insightful mantras throughout: “It’s not like cooking—there’s no measuring cup. Freedom has to be unconditional or not at all.” The narrative movements here are subtle, often more interested in providing a full picture of the characters’ struggles than in building a propulsive plot. At times, the pace may feel sluggish for some, but readers willing to stick with it will be rewarded with a stunning resolution. An atmospheric, evocative tale of youth endeavoring to live free.

—Kirkus Reviews


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The Electric Affinities by Wade Stevenson reviewed on Rebecca Reads

 

The Electric Affinities
Wade Stevenson
BlazeVox Books (2013)
ISBN:  9781609641481
Webpage: Click here
Reviewed by F.T. Donereau for Rebecca’s Reads (12/13)
 
Wade Stevenson's new novel, “The Electric Affinities” is a gift of a trip back to a very certain time and place in America--- the great wild conflict filled world of Nineteen-Sixty Nine New York. The opening pages set the tone and atmosphere of this work. Affluent New Yorkers, artistic and varied and often complex, seeing and being seen at a Fourth of July gathering on Sag Harbor, Long Island. The cast are wonderfully obtuse, acerbic and full of gilded bohemian flash. It instantly brings you in and lets you know the world you are about to roam through. 
 
Mr. Stevenson has a gift for character study and descriptive writing that lands the reader directly in the work presented; you truly feel you know these people and their comforts, as well as the stones pressing the heels of their lives. The settings are rendered magnificently. Perhaps it is because all of what is put down is appealing in one way or another that “The Electric Affinities” is such a pleasure; I believe though it is more the talent of the author. 
 
Things are happening below the surface. These characters are alive and feeling, no matter how jaded some of the facades they present. It is a subjective opinion, especially for a book with a number of possible lead players, but the enigma that is Maya seems the perfect orb for this story to revolve around. I admit, after reading the novel, I wanted desperately to know her, to have her in my life. If there is a better compliment for a creation in a book, I don't know it. 
 
The true accomplishment achieved by Wade Stevenson is the world created, or perhaps re-created, within the novel. You come to know Nineteen Sixties New York as if you are living it. The rarified air of the denizens invoked breathes into you. Maybe it's nostalgia for a thing never known (and what's wrong with that, after all), but I wanted to be a part of the scene Stevenson has painted. 
 
Andre and Robert and Ben and Maya and Caroline and Louise, et al, live fully here, intermingling in desire and pain, questing for the answers to eternal questions: what is our purpose; who should we be; what are we; what is worth anything. The existential dread seems real and worth examining. Souls searching, no matter their flaws, are always better companions than those settled into contented states of blind acceptance, buried despair.
 
 “The Electric Affinities” pulses with a certain kind of depth. It is not all happiness and candy. Too much is wondered and searched for that to be the case. Tragedy strikes and it is wounding, but isn't that a large part of life? 
 
Realism screams here and it is welcome. The novel is not depressing, it is too full to allow a maudlin skin to cover it. We care for these people. We have empathy towards them. For me their talents override everything. The experience of their stories is worth careful consideration. 
 
I think anyone reading the book will learn more about themselves. At the same time, they will be thoroughly captivated by the tale told. It is all I want from a novel. Since I can't actually go back in time, “Electric Affinities” served as the next best thing.       

 

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