God, Grace, Dumb Luck is an interesting, yet scattered, read that complies the thoughts of the author into a variety of short scenarios, poems and lyrics. The book is billed as psychological fiction and does read with a literary tone similar to that of the Beats. There does not appear to be a cohesive story, one central character or even any particular goal for the novel at all, which ultimately, does not really matter. Much of the content does lean towards the darker side of emotion and life, many people have a particular struggle or complex and it seems to focus on insecurities and secrets that often plague humanity. That being said, there is still an element of hope in the stories, as the characters question aspects of themselves or their lives. Unanswered questions and the idea of searching also seems to be prevalent.
The author, Philip Gaber who writes as Phloyd Knucklez, is sharp with his character descriptions and development and manages to build an image, with a personality, in a short amount of time. The stories are truly flash fiction, yet in only a few well-crafted sentences, a character does emerge through a quick physical description as well as an interesting tidbit about the person that may or may not even be relevant to the short story at hand. There is no central dialogue to be followed in God, Grace, Dumb Luck, but the snippets of lyrical prose do make for an interesting and sometimes perplexing read.
While I was reading it, I was forced to stop and think about the reasoning for a particular story or what was really going on beyond the surface. I enjoyed the insertion of the quick poems into the book as those also gave reason for a quick pause that was usually paired with a moment of reflection and thought. Seeing how there is no central plot to the book, this seems to be exactly the point the author was striving for when he created a collection of stories and thoughts that involve people questioning or lacking. I am not sure that God, Grace, Dumb Luck would be appreciated by a reader that is looking for a read to lose themselves in, but for a reader that is looking for a quick read that is unexpected and a little strange, this might be the perfect book.
Lauren Cannavino is a graduate student, freelance writer, wine lover, and avid reader.
Review copy was provided by Phloyd Knucklez.