Julian Stamper’s world is never far from the sea

She climbs into the boat and twists her hair. He hands her his thick shirt. She vigorously rubs herself and then her hair. “Aren’t you taking a dip?”
“You’re built for this.”
“Well, I am. How good you’ll feel, good…”
He strips and drops into the cold snap of water…hoists himself into the boat with a moan. The naked woman, about to pull on a bleached sweatshirt, smiles, sings softly:

Those who know the fiction of California writer Julian Stamper know his world is populated by gentle philosophers, bemused muscians, strong and honest women, shrieking happy children, folks of the land and folks of the sand. The ocean is never more than a few feet from the page. Stamper’s fiction, and especially his new novel, Flight into Egypt, is full of weather and laughter, a celebration of the wild spirit of the California coast, a place where anything can happen.

“I always get drunk in Sandyland
Where strange to say, never take a drink at all.”

Julian Stamper is a stylist, and there is a European romanticism to his writing. Flight into Egypt demonstrates his fondness for the French style of Colette and the young provincial Albert Camus. With surprises of the heart, he casts an Egyptian light on the Central Coast of California, which returns a reflection of adventure on the beach.

“I see, see little golden hairs everywhere on your body, as if your body is smiling. Or is it laughter?”
Blanca hums, rubs emollient on her face. “So then,” she reflects, “we are having a good time…a novel with a glad look.”

And that’s what Flight into Egypt is: a novel with a glad look.


No no the saddest
Alan Bern
ISBN 1-56474-433-7
104 pages, paperback, $12.00

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