2010 Book of the Year Award Finalist, Foreword Magazine, (Historical Fiction)
2010 International Book Award Finalist (Historical Fiction)
National "Best Books 2010" Book Award Finalist, (Historical Fiction)
"Williams has superbly crafted an historical novel around the assassination of Leon Trotsky...A riveting novel that pays careful respect to historical detail."--Midwest Book Review, June 2010.
Set against the political backdrop of the Moscow Show Trials and the exile of Leon Trotsky in Mexico, a Spanish agent of Joseph Stalin’s notorious secret spy ring, the GPU, is sent to assassinate Trotsky. After killing the exiled Bolshevik, Ramon Mercader has spent twenty years in a Mexican prison. The Prophet of Sorrow is a tale of suspense, courage, and love as recounted by the assassin. The main characters help to develop the plot throughout the story, with the inclusion of personal journal entries. The author instills geopolitical depth of the times and psychological gravity into their voices — not the least of which are — anger, fear, passion, envy, discontent, and sorrow.
"A search leavened with wit, and a word play that (along with intellectual weight and rigour) calls to mind Anthony Burgess. It is a style which also carries echoes--an appropriate word for this work--of Joyce. But it is the prose work of Samuel Beckett that one is most reminded of here, the apartness--another appropriate word--of Malone or Murphy. And since the death of Beckett that corner of literature which might be called post-modernism has fallen silent. "Well, in Mark Aken Williams we have a new voice, with new things to say about the human condition." Peter Maughan, author of The Cuckoos of Batch Magna
"Amazingly mind-boggling and truly exciting novella by Mark Van Aken Williams that any true literature and poetry lover should have or download." Seb Doubinsky, author of Goodbye Babylon
The principal narrative of The Burlesque of Graceless Acting is the account of an anonymous poet’s relationship with his mind and his physical surroundings, in a complicated modern world. The first-person narrative is supplemented by conversations with a confidant, about whether the soul is an immaterial thing or just a brain. All the while, the narrator illuminates his conundrum with the wonder of our most elusive art (poetry), as well as pictures of various 'surreal' people, places, and objects. It is haunting in content and scope for a novella, exploring why our conscious states have their particular qualities, and suggests that they, in the end, are nothing more than brain processes.
"Like the little bits caught in amber that make it interesting and precious, the photos and poems in A Season Of Industry will help you reconnect with the not quite forgotten past that you thought you had lost." Miles Free, adjunct professor, Walsh University