A Portrait of the Artist as an Anthropomorphic Genius-Machine

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There is no genuine affiliation between Joyce's book "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" and this book with the exception of the mock title that in the current usage plays the role of a gigantesque pastiche. Joyce's portraiture genre, superimposed over a restless American landscape, becomes blurred. In reality "A Portrait of the Artist as an Anthropomorphic Genius-Machine" is an antidote to Joyce's story. In Joyce's story the characters fold inside the chronicle and become "elements of style". In "A Portrait of the Artist as an Anthropomorphic Genius-Machine" the characters appear, swell and decay as real living experiences, though mundane. As opposed to Joyce's super-esthetic and pedantic tale where even the pain is suffered as part of some metaphor, this story tends to show that an American version of it is nothing but a byproduct of a society that is wide enough to gulp down success, happiness, failures, anxiety, malaise and death without affectation. The portrait-story is set in a small town called New Braintree and moves around three school pals – Joe, Walter and Peter - whose lives intersect for the length of the story: Joe, the main character, stands out as a nonconformist genius and a trouble-packed kid. He is living his anger filled childhood as if he was hurled into his own life by forces outside his control. Walter is a "prince" boy, and functions as a counterpoint to Joe. It is as if Walter could act only as long as he is part of this double-portrait, though in essence he'd like to be Joe. Peter is the witnessing chronicler. As opposed to Joe and Walter, he acts always like a thin and unnoticeable shadow. In this trio, Joe is the one who puts a fresh and original spin on teenage happenings and its growing pains. Thus, the story evolves most of the time around Joe's rebellious personality and his spoiled life, seen him either as a problems ridden child - unable to put his life back in order after his mom dies - or as a teenager that falls prey to drugs and gambling, or, at the end, as a young-man-crusader for lost causes for which he dies. Joe's case would prove not only that brightness and geniality could be weakened and eventually shattered by recklessness and excessive misbehavior, but also that fate and circumstance are playing sometimes an even more fatal role. Though, after all, there is something very wrong and frightening about a genius, who is nothing but an accident of nature, capable to create chaos and mayhem in his life and the life of the others due to a huge imbalance between a swamped brain and the limited degree of freedom he can use on a daily bases to participate in a life experience. Always struggling, either battling lonely the faceless enemy surfacing on his brain or real characters that mess up his youth years, Joe projects the strange feeling that he is living all his life inside an unresolved teenage crisis. His portrait is a suite of rebellious acts leading up to inhospitable consequences and death.
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Published on
Jun 26, 2013
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Fiction / Romance / General
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I have debts to pay and secrets to keep. When someone threatens my life, I crash into him: Jackson Ludlow

The recluse billionaire of New York

Once, he had everything a man could want. Then, he lost the only thing that he ever loved.

So, he spent four years holed up in his mansion doing the only thing he knew how to do: make money. 

We are all wrong for each other. He’s cold, uninterested and demanding. 

I’m impatient and inexperienced. 

The only thing we have in common is that we both have secrets. 

And the closer we get, the more they threaten to destroy us.

Praise for Charlotte Byrd's Black Edge 

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My gran-grandparents from mom's side were still alive then and lived in Los Pessos. I remember the deserted town that at midday seemed endless. I used to see all the time a few donkeys galloping away on the dusty roads whenever they saw coyotes approaching. Definitely, when I was a child there were things that I didn't know or understand. Like for instance why my grand-grandpa was mean and tempered. He'd give me to eat bitter apples to see me getting hook-nosed. He almost threw me out of the house when I called him "an old wrench". He was as bad as a rabid mule. Don't get discouraged because of these unflattering remarks. My family was an honorable family claiming on official documents "respectable roots that originated on 1765, when the first Irish families got deported to the New Land. Those roots were pure Irish, with no recorded mixed blood until 1901 when an Irish woman from the clan married a Hollandaise merchant named Van Dam. Those roots had nothing to do with Los Pessos. My grand-grandparents bought a house there during the depression. Grand-grandpa joked that the price of the house was at those times on a par with a good bottle of whiskey price. The house was sited next to a pub. At night you could see dozen of cowboys cleaning their throat with cold beer stirred together with tequila shots. Sometimes before I went to sleep I could see a beautiful woman that grand-grandpa would call "the Blond Harlot" getting in and out of the pub. Most of the time she was dressed in black, with a low cut silk blouse and a short skirt - so short that I could see her panties - and wearing high hills shoes that made her look like she was stepping on hot coals. The warm breeze in the evening made me feel better than the midday hot wind. Then the warm breeze faded away to get replaced by a sandy wind. Within minutes the town got deserted. It was like the whole thing that used to move around would retire to rest. No more voices or laughs or curses: lights of the pub and houses around would gently go to sleep under blinds and rags. I forgot to tell you that the reason mom would bring me there to live with my grand-grandparents for a month or so was to learn Spanish: "Not many people on Earth are lucky to have grand-grandparents" she'd say. "Also your grand-grandpa saw plenty of gallant happenings in his life and knew how to steer clear of danger. He could tell you interesting stories. People that are ninety years old know two times more stories than people that are forty five years old". Very soon as I got there I realized that grand-grandpa had an advanced rheumatoid arthritis. He could barely walk ten steps using his silver cane he bought from Britain in 1930. The housekeeper would clean it every day to keep it shiny. The handgrip was emblazoned with a crown encircling an airplane. "I was born a pilot" he'd say. "I'm now a relic emblazoned on this cane".
A contemporary transposition of "Song of Solomon" The fog carries out the abyss of the last shadows. On the road, the sky still draws the remote phantom of the morning rain. The air is lighter and lighter. Flowers are blooming; fruits are falling on the grass separated from their sleep, like some frail shadows. And there she is, like the spring revival, a body in its misty flight shivering words: love, love, love, restless and endless echoes. Where are the holy days of the past, the apple trees in their pink blossom, the river's valley wearing the sleeping gown of the night until dawn? Where are your words, whispered into my ears, and our love, that looks today like a too short awakening? Or our dreams that mysteriously flew away to the silent sky? Where are the whitened beams chasing away our minds' shadows, and the orchard's leaves, rusting under the thin cloth of the rain, and the Heaven's smell, drifting away further and further...? You see, how slowly the downfall smacks, the road is empty, and on the path to the woods - the bunch of white feathers and the small indentations on the blackberry bushes. To live in Heaven -remote memories that still exist - and to appease your life with its triumphant return! "Once upon a time you were an elf, a fairy adorned with flowery brilliance, an angel who disobeyed its divine origins". Oh, come, day of tomorrow, the most beautiful, the most ennobled day, in which the memory of a happy dream may come true. Let the sky framing the color of the plain be more momentous than the days that passed. Let the garden's shadow shelter the flight of the Heaven's birds, let the grass stretch its path towards the spotless thresholds of the everlasting shores bathed today in banqueting chants. God speaks secretly to the alive: let your days of life fly as every other day, chain-less, carrying above the hills crest the watery harp of the pure love, awakened by the morning breeze, like a flight of an everlasting bird over the temporal furrows. Here is the day, at last: it seemed like yesterday in its waiting? An imperishable tam-tam, a light in an unending voyage, an impenetrable forever-ness after which you must run... And now, what are you craving after? A hope without glory, a thought fulfilled in a cold, shadowy plain; its cherish words swept by the wind. Man telling to himself: "I'm still alive during my own life!" And, in the light wind of the land, close to the mill's water - hardly heated by the sun, he hears coming from far away the invincible song of the day passing to its decline through the flying grass thorns.
Editorial Reviews

"Helen has weaved a delicately balanced story of intrigue, secrets and passion, which practically melts the pages." -Bare Naked Words

"The love story between Talon and Jade continues in Obsession. An apt title to be sure, because everyone is obsessed. Dear Ms. Helen Hardt, I toss many profanities your way for making me wait. Though I give you my deepest gratitude for building the anticipation of what I’m sure will be an epic culmination to an amazing series. " -Heroes and Heartbreakers

"Talon and Jade's chemistry sizzles and the love scenes will melt your heart and your Kindle." -The Book Sirens

"I am loving this series so freaking much… The story line is one that will have you completely engrossed…" -Wicked Babes Blog

"Helen left my head spinning and my mind racing a mile a minute. I need to know what the secrets are... " -The Book Fairy Reviews


Jade Roberts is in love with Talon Steel but no longer welcome in his home. While she resolves to move on, she still longs for the passion she and Talon shared…and when her boss asks her to dig up information on the Steels, she’s only too happy to comply. Talon and his brothers are hiding something, and Jade is determined to find out what it is.

The moment Talon saw Jade he wanted her, ached for her, craved her…and now his desire has become his obsession. He knows she deserves better than his broken soul, but he can’t stay away from her, and he finally confesses his love. If he and Jade are to have a future, he knows he must make peace with the dark shadows and horrors of his past.

But as Talon begins his journey of healing, Jade uncovers some startling secrets…

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