I met Robert Wexler when we were both in college. I was in an oh-so-cerebral punk band and he was a writer with the college paper who wrote a nice story about us. We kept in touch for a while, but then Robert moved away to become a “real writer.”
And, wow, did he ever. Robert reconnected with me a few years ago, and recently he’s been kind enough to share his work (two novels and a novella—a third novel is on the way). I’ve still yet to read his first novel, Circus of the Grand Design, but I was knocked out both by the novella, In Springdale Town, and his most recent novel, The Painting and the City.
What do I mean by “knocked out?” I mean that shortly after starting both of these works I had “Holy, shit! This guy can really write!” moments. His massive talent is so evident that professional jealousy would be ridiculous. Yes, I’m a writer, but I’m nowhere near Robert Freeman Wexler’s league. His storytelling is wildly imaginative and his prose is beautiful, smart and eminently readable.
I guess you could call both In Springdale Town and The Painting and the City psychological suspense with tinges of sci-fi (parallel-universe-style sci-fi, not little-green-men-style sci-fi). If I’m honest, I’ll admit that these aren’t the kinds of books that normally leap off the shelves at me. But maybe it’s time to rethink that. Or at least get some reading recommendations from Wexler.
It’s always dicey assessing a friend’s creative work, especially literary fiction. I might approach it worrying, What if I hate it? Or, What if I can’t even get through it? Or, What if it’s a pretentious piece of crap? What I don’t usually think is, What if it’s so good my mouth is hanging open in astonishment by page 3? But Wexler’s done that to me with both of the works I’ve read so far. Circus of the Grand Design is next on my reading list.
Like so many writers, Wexler is struggling to bring a wider audience to his work. Sometimes a talented writer in this position is damned with faint praise as a “writer’s writer.” But I’d call Robert Freeman Wexler a reader’s writer.
If you love to read, do yourself a solid and check out Robert’s work on on Amazon.