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Welcome to my spiritual fiction novel, Song of George: Portrait of an Unlikely Holy Man–an exceptional type of love story. It is currently available in paperback at: Song of George on Amazon.com Paperback,
and also on Kindle at: Song of George on Kindle, as well as at: http://www.allthingsthatmatterpress.com/buynow.htm.  (:<)>

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~Some kind Words from others about~
Song of George: Portrait of an Unlikely Holy Man

 

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

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Just finished reading “George”. BRAVO!!! Brilliant work! A “Master” piece! Isn’t it just the way it is..this path.. this horrible, wonderful path we walk, crawl, claw our way through..It demanded entry into the deepest crevices of my soul; the beauty and the beast of it.. the hungering longing pangs of separation.. I wept deeply.. Thank you dear brother for the blood sweat and tears that went into that book. You are an inspiration to me..

—  Michelle Newkirk — Initiate devotee of the great Sant Mat Master, Kirpal Singh Ji since 1972

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“Here is a voice that defies the boundaries of sanity, and beckons me to drop certain preconceived notions of sanctity.

This voice wanders in the midst of horror, cynicism, absurdity, and wisdom, inviting me to bare my soul before the human condition– all along urging me to look for the spiritual thread tying it all together.”

– Denis Moreau — Recording Artist and Vaishnav devotee of
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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Many thanks for sending this. I really enjoyed reading it and was transfixed at the end. Your dialogue and characterization are superb and there’s obviously a great book there. (regarding an excerpt from Song of George, “The Questioner and the Ragged People’s Guru”, which was published in the March, 2010 issue of Dawntreader Magazine).

— Dawn Bauling — Editor of Dawntreader Magazine, a division of Indigo Dreams Online

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… 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

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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

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~synopsis for a novel~

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.

 

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~an excerpt~

the man on the street
(excerpted from “Song of George/Portrait of an Unlikely Holy Man
jesse s. hanson

He doesn’t recognize the street that he wakes up on. The light of the day didn’t wake him. Neither did the sirens or the roaring and horn blaring stream of traffic or the jazz band that set up no more than fifty feet from him. The people step over him on the sidewalk. The police haven’t found him worth the effort. What has woken him is that someone is repeating a word, or some sound, “Is it a name, or what is it?”, repeating it over and over. It grows loud and insistent. Somehow, it’s infusing his lifelessness with some life. In his still muddled waking, it is his experience that he sees the sound of it, and he sees it as a many colored sound. The color of it is sweet and beautiful in timbre. “Oh, it’s a dream.” he says regretfully, and his head screams in pain from the sound of his voice. But the word is repeated, and his pain is quieted as it is repeated.
The man sits up. His body again cries out in pain but he ignores it, captivated as he is. Looking around he can find no source of the word that is being repeated. The concrete rises up two feet from the lake side of the sidewalk, forming an edging upon which there is a hand rail of stainless steel tubing against the drop off to the tunnel below. He reaches for the railing and pulls himself upright as the foot traffic detours around him carefully avoiding the hectic traffic of the street. Out on the lake the ferries are coming and going and on the dock, the mob waiting with some sufficient decorum for a turn, for a portion of the island’s afternoon promises. But for him the lifeline is now fading. No one is there. The street, the walk, the dock, teeming with people. Who is it? No one is there.
He walks. He doesn’t know where to walk to. He doesn’t talk to anyone. His head begins to throb. It’s gone. It was such a beautiful dream. How could it be a dream? No, now he’s fallen into the dream, into the nightmare, where noise and confusion and pain rule the world of the dream. As he walks, he is so clumsy. He stumbles against the buildings, into people. They push him off, some of them carefully, some cursing and rough. After three blocks or so he’s moved out of the tourist traffic, but not out of the traffic. The sun is not allowed here for most of the day. The tall buildings guard the street jealously and coldly. The people crowd the walks in the business of their city. In the business of their city lives. A drunken bum is an obstacle in a world of obstacles.
His head is reeling. His mind in a stupor. The backs of his hands, cut and bruised. Someone’s missteps. “Oh, sorry buddy” But it didn’t wake him. He’s gradually tumbling and bumbling his way down the fourth block, just going. He knows he has to go somewhere. Where? When he falls into the street, people gasp. Some cars screeching to a stop. One car swerves, narrowly avoids tragedy with the next lane traffic. But his arm goes out to break his fall. When the braking front wheel goes over his forearm he cries out so, but as the rear wheel goes over a moment later twisting his already broken limb, his cry is drowned out by the shrieking brakes and the honking horns.

He opens his eyes but no light comes into them. There is no sound whatsoever, save his own breathing. His arm does not respond to the message from his brain so he sends the same message to the other arm and he touches his face to determine if it is there— to learn if the arm and the hand are there as well, puts out his tongue and touches it to a finger. These tactile sensations give him some little aspect of physical dimension in the complete darkness, the complete silence.
There is no other sensory input coming to him. No pressure anywhere on his back or either side as if he were lying down, on his feet, were he standing, or anywhere else, were he somehow suspended. His face and one arm only. And neither his arm or his hair seem to fall one way or the other to give him any knowledge of his position.
Suddenly he surprises himself by calling out. “Aaaah…” He told himself to call out, yet he was surprised by the sound of it, when he did. Clear and loud the voice left him but it did not return. He tries it again, “George…”, listening carefully, noting that there is no reverberation, the sound manifests and then it is gone.
“Am I vertical or horizontal?” and then he thinks, “compared to what?”
He assumes he is alive because he is breathing. “Is that the test? Does one who is dead not breathe?
Does one who is dead think?
Like this?
Is there no wisdom in death?”
He exists now in the darkness. He is aware of himself existing. He has the odd thought that maybe God existed like this, without dimension or form or company, and so decided to create.
“If I were God, what would I create first? What would I create at all?”, he is toying with the idea, existing in the darkness. In the void.
He becomes aware that he is not alone. His face burns in sudden panic. There is now such an ominous presence. All too familiar, yet utterly unknown. Surrounded by fear, he becomes absorbed in fear. He feels the hot breath of fear— the cold chill of fear. He remembers with increasing alarm that there is no dimension in fear. There is no relation to anything known in fear. There is no help.
With nowhere to go, fear is the substance of a boy’s creation. All of the horrors of the hells exist and live. The light does not make them go away or show them to be only phantoms of the imagination. Horrors committed to the mother, committed to the son. Those protectors of children, they are the horrors of the children. With demands and curses and sharp instruments and dull instruments, and ugly parts of themselves and ugly parts of you. And the horrible tooth and the horrible claw. And the preaching of God and the rules so hard and the punishment, regardless of the obeying or not obeying. Oh God, you horror! You beast! You murderer.
The tears are running down his cheeks and they bring some little softness to him in his fear. And he realizes, the tears are running down his face to his neck. And he thinks of perspective… of relation. The tears run down his face. He must be vertical… in relation to something.
Hope. He knows how fickle is this thing called hope. He mistrusts it. Very much mistrusts it. But just like the slave who is driven here and then driven there at the will of his cruel master, he acts. Just as he must react hopelessly to the fear, he must also react helplessly to the hope. Even if, especially if, it is only a tool, an instrument, of the fear, only so slightly abated.
And he imagines that in the distance, provided there is a distance, that in the distance he sees a light, and it is soft and white and very faint. But it is something, real or imagined, to look at in the utter darkness.
After a time the light strengthens a little. Or the imagination strengthens a little. How does it matter, suspended here? And he hears the faint rhythm of a drum as if from miles in the distance. He puts his attention on that light and looks and he listens and as he does, the horrors of his mind begin to gradually diminish, and his fear is slowly subdued. He is long in his looking and his listening, though he has no consciousness of how long.
When the light draws nearer he sees, somehow, that it was perhaps never far off after all. Out of the light and out of the sound of the drum come the deep and pure strains of some ethereal cello in expression of utter melancholy. And as that comes forth he begins to imagine that the light is looking at him, even as he is looking at the light. After awhile he begins to see what appears to be the white beard of a man and after a little while longer, he comes to recognize that beard, that face, as the source of the light. Gazing at that self-luminescent face, though it is not entirely clear, and listening to the most sweet sadness from the strings, he becomes conscious of a compassion. It is as if he is aware of the suffering of all existence at that moment. He can see the face more clearly now and in the eyes of the face, he is witness to an empathy with all things.
But after a time incalculable the light begins to fade until he can no longer make out the face or the beard of light and the sound retreats to, once again, a distant drum and in that state of loss and anxiety, his heart breaks.

 

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~Reviews~

 Art & Anguish,September 17, 2011
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

“Song of George: Portrait of an Unlikely Holy Man”is not a novel…it’s pure Art. This intense, unusual story contains original prose, poetry, song lyrics and artwork, all welded together by a thread of human suffering reminiscent of the great Russian authors such as Dostoevksy.

Although they are very different stories, at times the struggles and comradeship of George’s disciples reminded me of Solzhenitsyn’s “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich,” with its portrayal of just how much anguish humanity can endure despite enormous odds, for “We lay like scattered bones on the floor of her lair, mother earth some, broken splintered things, white against the dirt, the pain is gone.”

In “Song of George” much of the suffering comes from in the treatment of the inmates by the guards, but even more comes from their supposed distorted realities. One of the major themes in this nuanced novel is the exploration of how one defines madness (is George mad or is he a visionary? And who is to decide which he is?)

When you pick up this book, expect a challenging read in more ways than one: dense with characters, packed with philosophy and resonating with compassion, “Song of George” forces the reader to examine different realities through the lives, minds and experiences of three students interviewing (mainly) numerous inmates in a prison mental institution.

Despite the need to concentrate hard, the pace of the story is fast and the author’s portrayal of his multitude of characters is simply superb. Each character is unique and fascinating, even the less appealing ones such as Jaiden. The author’s compassion and understanding for those of us classified as “insane” clearly runs deep.

Throughout the book I felt I was reading profound truths about life. From the suggestion of reincarnation (in Toby’s story) to a conversation about “low burning fires” the student Jeff eavesdropped on, the themes of this immense novel are shrouded in a sense of futility and despair at the ugliness of a world that denies ultimate truths in favour of modern commercialisation, materialism and alienation. When George was freed on parole, the collapse of the inmates’ fragile serenity at the loss of their holy man, is symbolic of the apocalyptic threat to humanity facing us as we turn away from the universal language of Love and a spiritual path.

And yet this was an uplifting story. The glimpses of hope were there: Harold/Horatio’s relationship with his sister Illy, who believed in him against all reason, ultimately becoming his safe haven, almost a “reward” for his innocence despite all that had been done to him. The final scene, despite the ambiguity of the closing paragraphs, also suggests that all hope is not lost when the little girl on the stoop shames the boys tormenting George into helping him.

With its weighty philosophical nature, this novel needs more than one reading to be fully appreciated. Like all good novels that endure, each reading of “Song of George” will, I’m sure, raise more questions and offer new spiritual insights for its readers.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
3.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional,July 13, 2011

As Sarte wrote: ” A madman’s raving are absurd to the people around him but not to his mind. “
That quote certainly relates to George, the main character, in Jesse S. Hanson’s ” Song of George: Portrait of an Unlikely Holy Man. A non-tradional novel..Experimental. No clear narrative. Similiar to a series of celluloid clips. I found it a refreshing read from a different lens.
I wish Hanson had explored in more depth the childhood brutality [bad things] that led to George’s demonic need for drugs and alcohol which ultimately led to his spiritual redemption one cold night after being beaten by thugs and nearly dying of hypothermia but rescued by a mysterious stranger. A man shrouded in mystery who nurses him back to physical and spiritual help by sharing his esoteric knowledge. A knowledge that transcends intellect; a knowledge that is the manifestation of love.
Was the stranger’s knowledge based on the notion that the Western world has abandoned belief in the spiritual and erected a new one in materialistism and technology? Or was his knowledge based on spiritual deliverance inextricably tied to suffering or inextremis? Hanson could had revealed a lot more.
Jesus like George was ridiculed and called a ‘ glutton and a drunkard’ by his contemporaries; like George Jesus led the life of an itinerant preacher. He was not political or a social revolutionary.
Like Jesus, George had his discibles and they all lived on the second floor of a lunatic asylum inside the Wade Federal Correctional Institute. A psychotic Ward of schizoids, manic depressives, and madmen. All outcasts from striving middle-class America. A world that writer Anato Broyard noted “As lucifucous creatures of darkness,where sex, drugs, gambling and other crimes are directed against a bourgeois culture that dispise them.”
The myriad characters in his novel represent the 830,000 patients who made a mass exodus from public psychiatric hospitals in the 60s. The problem began because of public outrage over their inhumane treatment. Some of the institutions were as barbaric as Medieval asylums. Almost a million mentally ill were unleashed on the streets nationwide.
Author Hanson missed a great opportunity to explore some of the ghastly psychiatric techniques [autoradiograghy ] a brain scanning technique being used to detect abnormalities in the brains of deceased psychotics by slicing pieces of it and looking for abnormalities. George’s prison would be a good example?
With over 60 different characters in the novel it comes off as an operattic universe of delirium,hallucination, and paranoia. Each character using the stage like a movie to reveal its soul to the reader.
” Why don’t God make us good? I don’t see the problem with that if God is good,how can he make bad? “
That type of dialog was very unsettling for me. Despite his mental illness I was hoping from his message to be more philosophical?
Clearly, I guess, author Hanson wanted to show us that his mind is medicated to make such idiotic statements. I believe that is why George is called the Unlikely ‘Holy Man ‘ ?
” The human ability to normalize the abnormal is frightening indeed.”
Sociologist Ranier C. Baum
I thought part two: ‘George on the outside ‘ is where Hanson really puts the metal to the petal in the narrative. His sharp details of the three floors above Clancy, the nurse, the ‘dead man’ and Toby is riveting.
“One is for the psychopathic murderers,terrorists, and other extremely dangerous criminals. Above that death row,…….”
The three student interviewers Ansel, Jeff, and Ozwald description of the death of Milton and Ahmed was visceral and gives the book a much needed gravitas boost when their alledged suicides are possibly traced to their cultures long association with Guru phenomena: a teacher and spiritual guide in Hinduism.
Author Hanson writes almost apolegetically, ” It was never my intention in writing the novel,to argue a point of view.”
I think the book is an interesting read about spiritual awakening,redemption, and psychosis but I don’t think reminding the reader that mental illness is part of a much broader systemic problem interconnected with other issues would had made the novel too polemical.
Overall I think Jesse Hanson’s novel is exceptional.
Finis

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Short and Sweet,May 16, 2011

I hesitate to say much about this book. Part of its value is in grappling with its exposition so therefore “no spoilers here.” Let me simply say it’s had a great effect on me, and continues to stick in my mind. Believe me, it’s worth the gamble.
When I sent a message to the author he replied that he didn’t consider this a spoiler, so I’m including it in a comment:
“I read your book over a few days the week after Easter. While reading it I was trying to perfectly understand it. I kept referring to that list of characters at the back of the book (good idea, by the way). I wanted to make sure I knew who was who and exactly what was going on…not knowing what you considered crucial. While reading I was trying to anticipate the significance of EVERYTHING. I was trying to see meaning even in the floor numbering, for example. I thought everything was going to tie together in a grand design. That it didn’t is one of the lessons of the book I would say. The “supernatural” elements, the long lived “non-human” prisoner for example, were just as in “real” life, strange and unexplained.
My absolutely favorite part was the revelation that the book George had in his hand was about Electricity. That tells me he was a true visionary. It really touched home. From that point on I kept “writing” endings to the story. Whether this was your intention or not, this made me feel a part of the process. When you ended your tale, it didn’t end for me. It’s like when you watch a movie that seems to end abruptly: you carry it with you and see its value grow in reflection.”

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars George The Messenger,March 14, 2011

Unheard and unseen by most of us, George sings his song, reaches out to his followers, and makes them aware of their imprisonment. Jesse Hanson’s novel would be just another insight into the mental prisons’ terrible life, if it wasn’t for the frightening thoughts, “What if we are prisoners, just like George is? What if there is virtually no line between sanity and insanity?” George’s words can make sense for most of us, and if so, how come we do not see that we are trapped inside our minds, going out now and then, but always rushing back “home” where we feel safe?
Although humble, George is a very sophisticated, almost a surreal character; we can feel his Pain, we can feel the voice of our conscience overlapping with his.
This is a very interesting book that reminds us that every person we ignore can become a very important messenger in our lives.

Oana
Author of The Healings

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars Getting Help From the Inside,December 16, 2010
By

Inside our prisons also exist a different kind of population. These are people labeled mentally ill. Because of the failing state of mental care facilities the mentally ill are now being relegated to penitentiaries. In this book we get an in-depth look at what goes on behind these locked doors through the eyes of three student researchers.

These three young men interview and get to know a few of the men on the 41st floor. One of those men is George, the unlikely holy man. George seems to have been sent there to unlock some of the doors of his fellow inmates’ minds. Even though he suffers from schizophrenia and other problems he is at his best when helping these men discover their true spiritual natures. He gathers them to him and expounds on many different subjects of a spiritual nature.

It took me a while to get into the style of writing this book was written in. At points I was confused about what was actually taking place. But as I allowed my mind to accept the writing I began to enjoy what is being offered here. I learned a lot about the conditions in which these people must survive. For that is just what they are doing- surviving. George is there to offer sustenance and solace in a world where there is little of this to be had.

I think this is a good book for people who would like to learn more about what mental illness really looks like and what can be done about it. It’s also a good book for those who are interested in deeply spiritual ideas being presented in this type of format.

The story has its ups and downs, especially after George is released into the “real” world. We find that he is not the same person as he was on the inside, barely able to cope with even the simplest of things, like getting gas for his car. This is really a sad commentary on the world as a whole. We are all living behind closed doors in one form or another. Unfortunately, most of us are blinded to this fact as the government closes in on each of us tighter and tighter. Our freedoms are taken away inch by inch, especially since 9-11. This is our relating point to the men of floor 41. They are trapped within their minds, as well as inside the prison walls.

I think readers will also enjoy the frequent parables, poems, and songs sprinkled throughout the text. They brake up the prose and help ease the high sense of frustration of the inmates. Hanson has done tribute to the unknown and unwashed among us who deserve a decent life just as much as any one of us.

Julie Achterhoff, author of
Quantum Earth
Deadly Lucidity
Native Vengeance
Earthwalker- Earth can be Hell for a VAMPIRE
[…]

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars Review–Song of George: Portrait of an Unlikely Holy Man,October 29, 2010
By
Jerry Schwartz (Chicago, Illinois, USA) – See all my reviews

I enjoyed reading Jesse Hanson’s Song of George, the story of “a guru in the prison mental ward.” Graduate students Ansel, Ozwald, and Jeff are permitted to study and record the inmates of floor 41 for two months, during which time they learn not only what life is like in a large federal correctional institution, but also of the effect that George, the “unlikely holy man,” has on his fellow inmates.

Hanson’s unorthodox approach to telling George’s story appealed to me from the beginning. Through a hodgepodge of quotes, songs, inmates’ recollections, messages of George transcribed by Ansel, and poetry, the spirituality of Hanson’s work shines as he relates his tale. I give Hanson extra points for making George a vegetarian. (How spiritual can you truly be when you are eating your fellow creatures?)

Admittedly, on several occasions, I became lost when reading this book. For instance, at one point, when the narrative switched to verse, I found myself wondering who “wrote” the poem. One of the inmates? Or was it the author stepping out from behind the curtain to assist me? My solution was to keep reading, and each time, I was rewarded. I love it when an author takes chances, and I like it even more when those risks pay off.

Song of George: Portrait of an Unlikely Holy Man is well written, engaging, and inspirational–four out of five stars.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Is life a prison?,October 23, 2010

Song of George – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

`Within the same week he is released by the hospital and received by the Hennington County Jail, where he is to be held until his trial. That turns out to be a period of eleven months. He learns from his court appointed lawyer that he apparently broke through the glass doors of a Federal Building and vandalized an office there, miraculously avoiding the law enforcement units that arrived within five minutes of the building’s alarm call. To top that off, when he fell into the street the morning following the break in, there was a four-car collision directly related to his fall. At his trial the judge makes it clear to him that although he has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, further complicated with symptoms of severe manic depression, aka bipolar disease (all of which is surprising news to him, he was not aware of having undergone any psychiatric evaluation) he, being a danger to society as well as to himself, and for the multiple and habitual crime of reckless endangerment, as well as destruction of federal property, will be confined to the Wade Federal Correctional Institute; specifically to the mental ward of that institution for a period of five years, the sentence to be evaluated annually after the completion of the first two years.’

You’ve just met George, the prison’s preacher. George as a preacher, preaching to those willing to listen as he attempts to open our eyes and make us understand that we are all living in a material world prison. And there is only one way out, which is through divine intervention. Not everyone agrees that the world is, in fact, a prison, or that there is even much wrong with the world, but it is just the age old conflict of matters of the world vs. matters of the spirit. But George does.

George gets the attention of most of the inmates as he shifts the book back and forth between his hands, sometimes shaking it in a gesture reminiscent of the puritan preachers of old. But they love him and they listen to him. These are facts that Ansel, Jeff and Ozwald learn as they conduct interviews with the inmates on the psych floors of the Wade Federal Correctional Institution.

They are conducting a study hoping to see what care is really being given to the men and women that are declared criminally and mentally incapable of living in society as free people. From my readings of the Song of George, these people are kept mainly in a controlled state of mind which will most likely continue throughout their lives. If and when they are released, they usually reenter the same or another facility of the same design. But, if you look at the incarnation of these men as George does, isn’t that what happens to all of us on the outside too. Are we kept under control by those who govern our lives? I believe George sees every move from one job to another, one home to another and even one car to another as moving from one prison to another. Could he actually be right?

2010
All Things That Matter Press
235 pages
ISBN# 978-0-9846154-1-4

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com Stir, Laugh, Repeat Stir, Laugh, Repeat

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Unique, Refreshing Piece of Fiction. HIghly Recommend,August 27, 2010

The Turn of the Karmic Wheel
Song of George takes the reader beyond the facade and into the inner realms of the criminally insane. Or are they?
This specific question ran through my mind as I delved deeper into the world where George and his fellow inmates reside.

Not a pretty world by any means, yet one which will surely open your eyes to the injustice, cruelty and lonliness found within the prison system.
Each inmate has a fascinating story to tell you and in many different ways. Not wishing to give away the story, I can say that without George, these men would surely succumb to the madness of their psyche’, all hope lost.

You will fall in love with some characters, while others you will find a bit repulsive, yet grow to understand their inner makings.

A certain melody plays throughout the story, making it a pleasure to read. You will open your mind as well as your heart to this group of misfits from society.

Excellent!

 
Song of George/Portrait of an Unlikely Holy Man

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. As long as someone such as George is alive, willing to put others’ needs before his own, mankind will survive and their will shall be strong. George is a very unlikely Holy Man, but Holy Man he is indeed. Ask any inmate, guard or person who has been fortunate to cross his path.
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. You will not be able to put it down.

Jen Knox rated it 5 of 5 starsEnter George: Serenity graces a facility for the criminally insane.
A Curious and Beautiful Work, August 11, 2010
By J. L. Knox “Musical Chairs” (USA) – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
This Amazon.com review is from: Song of George: Portrait of an Unlikely Holy Man (Paperback)

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

This plot sounds familiar enough, I thought, when I fist opened the book. Who hasn’t read the tale of a messiah entering a place in which depravity and confusion thrive… And yet Song of George is surprisingly nuanced, reaching out beyond the obvious nature of the characters’ desperation and potential for renewal and faith, the text reaches beyond the obvious cliche of a messiah leading those astray. Rather, 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.

Steve Hanson rated it 4 of 5 stars

A Goodreads.com 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.
Mmarie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone Adult
What a refreshing piece of work!
A Goodreads.com review
What a refreshing piece of work!
Instead of shying away from writng of the misfits of our society, Mr. Hanson invites the reader into their lives, not to judge the individul, rather to listen to each mans story. George, a king among the fallen, is the string that holds this group together. I fell in love with his character, as will you.
There is a melody and rhythm which flows throughout the story.
You will laugh, you will cry but most of all you will not be able to put this book down.
In ending, you will certinly ponder if perhaps it is not the mentally ill who are the misfits after all, but you and I.

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animalartist

Like a tramp on the street. When will the book be out?

jesse s. hanson

I’m not sure, Bernadette. Maybe two or three months. Very kind of you to check out my excerpt.
i got a hint from the publisher that it could possibly be out before the end of our blog tour, which is within that time frame. i’m also hoping to get one more illustration included.

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