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Mark Strauss' 5th novel: Mask of Maya

I have spent many rewarding days in the historic environs of the Mayan Culture in Guatemala. This novel, a mystery, was shaped by the brutal subjugation of the Mayans at the hands of European invaders. There are indeed vengeful ghosts of this conquered civilization. Their souls seek revenge.

Excerpt from Mask of Maya:

Benito Adolfo de Alvarado is brutally murdered in the old town of Antigua, yet his body disappears. His cousin Luigi vanishes from a luxurious hotel near the Maya National Park. During their inquiry, the investigators become aware of more gruesome deaths in the Alvarado Family lineage, some tracing back hundreds of years to the Spanish Conquest of Guatemala.

In the old historic sites of Guatemala, the vengeful ghosts of the wronged people seek their revenge on the Alvarados. Solving these killings drives the inquiry from the ruins of Mayan culture to the old Capital of Antiquga.

Can the Alvarado Family ever find sanctuary from the grim hand of vengeance?


Not a Lady

Not a Lady

This is a tale about chickens and about a woman. Millions upon millions of these chickens were hatched in Virginia and millions upon millions were raised locally. When the dead weigh of those chickens was judged to be 2 -3 lbs, millions upon millions were slaughtered nearby in a Plant. There is nothing extraordinary about those chickens except the fact that their chunks, bits, slivers and fluids serve as food for multitudes of humans and other creatures.

Excerpt from Not a Lady:

But, I don't think much these days. Nearly a year passed since Laty's death and I am still praying in the chicken hellhole. My confinement in gehenna is my purgatory here on earth. The vitriol which burned my emotions must have done so also to my intellect because I no longer can reason. Am I really doing any good? Does God approve of my priestly ministration to chickens? Is there God who is concerned about minutiae of our and animal lives?

I no longer argue within myself, trying to answer those questions. At least my senses have not been impaired – for better and for worse. I see the reddish green of the plants in the fall and smell the aroma of drying leafs. But I also smell the atrocious stench of plucked and eviscerated birds. The remarkably chiseled face of Laty haunts me. I see her serving customers from behind the bar and repeating over and over. 'I am a strong vooman – I am a free vooman'. I know that I am not a strong man but I know that by working in the gehenna of Almond and Young I am atoning for my past. I pray for the birds but also for us humans. More meaningfully, I pick up individual birds, whisper to them and stroke their feathers before hanging them on the ever moving train of shackles. My touch comforts them. I know that Kasia would approve and probably would eventually forgive me for my neglect of her and our unborn baby.

 


Mark Strauss Writer

Google Knows Best

You may know the author from visits to your school where he spoke to your students about his experiences during the Holocaust. This is how Mark Strauss describes his new book.

"Within a surrealistic cover are two tales, woven by me into a jarring novel – a Celestial satire blends with lives of several Americans who either abet or resist the onslaught of electronic emissions on our civilization. Those individuals and their personal relationships are so real that the reader may easily claim familiarity with them. Although the story is projected onto the third decade of our century, Washington D.C., Virginia and the Holy Land which are the settings for the story are easily recognizable. A slow but steady deterioration in the health of humans and in the wellbeing of fauna and flora are being blamed on the electronic environment. The concern of the public and of those who govern us is mounting. A gigantic experiment is being designed to predict future affects of emitted radiation. A facility for the experiment is built and the equipment is activated but…what will be the result?"

This book is written for readers with imagination who enjoy current life and yet are apprehensive about the future of our civilization. I am concerned but I think that it is still time to answer whether indeed Google Knows Best.The portrayed events involving Google personnel or Google as an institution are fictitious but are a dramatized outcome of an extrapolation into the near future of Google’s current acquisition of power and pixels

Cost: $15, add $5 for shipping in the USA

Phone 540-333-0720
Email: mstrauss@shentel.net
Payments made to :
Mark Strauss, 332 Zepp Road, Maurertown, Virginia 22644


Not a Lady

Four Plus Five

You who know Mark Strauss as an artist or as a speaker on the Holocaust will be interested in his latest novel, Four Plus Five. Mark Strauss is recounting the drama of World War II Poland as witnessed by a young Jewish boy.

Praise by a referee for Four Plus Five:
“From the opening pages of Four Plus Five, Mark Strauss pulls us into the drama Of World War II Poland as witnessed by the young Jewish boy, Edek Edelman. Decades have passed and Dr. Edward Edelman, now stricken by a terminal illness, spends his final days in a nursing home recalling an epoch of terrifying fear and widespread butchery interwoven with moments of tender compassion and sexual awakening. Four Plus Five is a page-turner that holds us spellbound from beginning to end.”

Cost: $15, add $5 for shipping in the USA


Not a Lady

 

Crumbs

Strauss co-wrote Crumbs, a semi-autobiography about an elderly Jewish artist who falls in love with a young American woman of German descent. The authors adopted the pseudonyms Marek Mann and Maria Martell.

Excerpt from Crumbs

     I got off the tour bus at the National Gallery and immediately saw a display of colorful and imaginative pictures across the street.  Next to the display, several onlookers surrounded the artist, observing him paint. I crossed over the street to see him at work. The artist was kneeling along the gravel path. The patches of grass around him were trampled down by tourist shoes an parched by drought. A stretched canvas lay on the ground in front of him and he was brushing oils onto its linen surface. Unusual, I thought, don't artists use easels? Next to him stood two elaborate aluminum stands with paintings and prints affixed on their frames. Near the stands was a table piled with matted and shrink-wrapped miniature prints. An empty lawn chair beside a large cooler under a shade of an oak tree completed the artist's encampment.
     I was intrigued and stood next to the artist to observe. His brush did not have long tapered bristles like those I saw in art stores; the bristles were rather short, widely arrayed and were squared off at the end. He was using a squat brush, about half an incch in width, to spread the oil pigments. I watched as he imbedded thick, orange oils into streaks of white oils. The orange hue lightened as the brush stroke lengthened. the result was a gradual transition, gnetly rendered. Narrow orange furrows resulted from one very long, slow sweep of the artist's hand. The separated bristles of the brush gave the orange-white streak an elegant texture. It was hard to determine what the artist was painting. Perhaps it was a plowed field or tongues of fire.

     Even though the artist focused intensively on his work, he was explaining to the viewers that he was using two metallic pigments: cadmium orange and titanium oxide. He spoke with an accent. I could not tell where he was from, but he was easy to understand. At first I thought that the artist was a meticulous, plodding person because his explainantions were so detailed and carefully phrased.  He told us that he really should not have used titanium oxide as a substrate pigment because it was lighter than cadmium oxide, which was heavy, but it was not sold those days because of safety considerations. But, on the other hand, he said, titanium oxide was brilliantly white––and he liked it.
     He stopped talking, looked for a long moment at the canvas and then, with surprising speed, wiped the brush on paper toweling. With a vigorous motion of  his entire hand, he plunged the brush into the newly created orange-white field. Twisting the brush from a wide aspect to a narrow one, he plowed a perpendicular, wavy wedge across the beautifully textured field. Then, faster, without pausing, at a slightly different angle, he created another wavy wedge. Throughout, he anchored the canvas, pressing it downward with the palm of his left hand, thus preventing it from sliding on the ground. The canvas did not budge in the assault of the squat brush.

Cost: $15, add $5 for shipping in the USA  | A second printing of this book will be available in late fall.

 

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