Publication Date: July 24, 2013
In Often Overlooked by Cary Polkovitz, the author has compiled a book of pictures comprising his own work and submitted pictures of things around which he has built 70+ short stories. From a pair of shoes abandoned in the grass to a weathered fence around which he has built a historical tale, Polkowitz builds new legacies for items often overlooked.
The author, Cary Polkovitz, provided me with a copy of his book in exchange for my review.
What Cary Polkovitz has built-in Often Overlooked is what could be called a “think differently” fiction. Some folks would call it experimental, but I think it provides a unique experience for the reader as we’re led to interpret what we see as well as what we read.
The collection of stories opens with a lone red fire hydrant and a tale of a friend named “Johnny Pump” whose arms are spread wide (Johnny Pump also has the honor of closing the book). Several pages later is a contributed picture of what I would bet money is the flying swings at Cedar Point and the story of a carousel once much loved, but now forgotten. Whether Polkovitz realizes it or not, Cedar Point is abandoning their history for the bigger and better roller coaster. The amusement park, located in Sandusky, Ohio, is in a constant race with a park in Japan to have the biggest and best, the old rides are forgotten and removed. The poignancy of Polovitz’s work speaks to the reader.
One of my favorite stories (none of the stories in the book have titles) is based on a picture contributed by Jason Polkovitz of a purple ball on a leaf-strewn street. The ball is imagined as a heavenly body fallen to earth that people mistake for a purple playground ball. The argument arises once again as to if a chair is indeed a chair. Polkovitz seems to say to the reader, “This is what I thought, now what do you think?” Would you interpret the story in the picture as he does, and the next time you walk your neighborhood will you see unique items and make lavishly creative stories based around them? There is not a technical niche into which this work of art (as well as fiction) exists so to say, that it fits a category perfectly, would be incorrect. I won’t lie to you readers, there is a hipster, coffee bar, snapping fingers vibe to the stories but there’s an inherent beauty in simplicity done well that transcends cool.
What Often Overlooked does is range a wide variety of readers. Those folks who like cerebral fiction will fall in love with the symbolism rife in Often Overlooked while those without much reading time will like the short stories and the ability to do something and pick the book back up with nothing lost.
The pictures are bright and beautiful and it might be fun for readers to think of those pictures they’ve taken seemingly of nothing and build stories around them. Often Overlooked: Volume 1 is a perfect conversation starter.
Pick it up and let me know what you think. If Often Overlooked (Volume 1) by Cary Polkovitz sounds like a book for you, read an excerpt and buy on