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D. S. Lliteras (Author) See More (6)

$16.95 USD
Rainbow Ridge
5 X 7.5 in
176 pg

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Written with the grace and elegance of poetry, Syllables of Rain is the compelling story of two friends haunted by the experiences, circumstances, and choices that have shaped them. Cookie is a man trapped by his own memories; and as he struggles to cope with both grief and regret, he gradually descends into a perpetual cycle of self-destruction. His friend Llewellen is doing his best to help, but is himself tormented by memories of Jansen, a Zen Master who, many years back, left Llewellen with more questions than answers about life. He is also conflicted about his relationship with Sandy, the woman he loves. His past overshadows their present—his illusions collide with her reality—and this rift between them leads to their separation.

Both Cookie and Llewellen must eventually decide if they will be defined by their past or learn to move beyond it, even if some emotional scars are too deep to ever fully heal; even when there are no definitive answers to their many questions. There is a surreal and poetic sensibility to Syllables of Rain that is, in just the right moments, contrasted by a sober and unprotected reality. In this short novel, nothing is out of place; emotions are bottled for consumption—and through a careful balance of lyrical wording, rhythmic pacing, and meticulous detail, the scope of its themes will entice the reader to ponder questions both big and small. This story may be told through the narrow window of two men's perceptions, but it delves into a timeless internal conflict that all of us must, at some point, face, examine, and contemplate the mystery of.

D. S. Lliteras
Author Bio

D. S. Lliteras is the author of fourteen books that have received national and international acclaim. His short stories and poetry have appeared in numerous national and international magazines, journals, and anthologies. He lives in Montgomery, Alabama with his wife and author, Kathleen Touchstone.

Table of contents


1. Keeping Secrets

2. Wheel of Her Regret

3. Unwanted Dreams

4. French Toast

5. Empty Disposition

6. She's Not Coming Back

7. My Soul is Rusty

8. First Cup of Baltimore

9. Reasonable Pie

10. This Was Real

11. The Here and the Now

12. Everywhere is Nowhere

13. Wandering Thoughts

14. Imagined Rainbows

15. Its Weight Was Important

16. Zen Clarity

17. Hazmat Incident

18. His Idea of Poverty

19. What Was I Doing?

20. I'm Cookie. Do You Remember Me?

21. Jansen is Dead

22. He Smelled Bad

23. Tramping

24. I Need a Drink

25. Mother of God

26. Outside Ourselves

27. This is Not a Crime

28. Nobody Knows Anybody

29. Under a Small Sky

30. Charles Patrick Anderson

31. With Empty Pockets

32. Adolescent Enlightenment

33. Quest for Tranquility

34. Catherine, My Wife

35. Robert Llewellen

36. That Dreadful Word

37. Don't See So Clearly

38. Who Was Teresa?

39. Nobody Answering

40. Careful Pantomime

41. Saints Confuse Me

42. Vietnam

43. Nothing Lasts

44. Tough Woman

45. Lost in Uncertainty

46. Combat Veteran

47. Zen Noir

48. Misspelled Steps

49. I'm in Disguise

50. Epiphany

51. Synopsis of Despair

52. Perspective in Blue

53. Under the Bridge

54. Cityscape

55. Renga Party

56. Avoiding Violence

57. Go Home

58. Promises on Earth

59. Don't Blame Vietnam

60. Haunted Men

61. Discordant Cry

62. Hopeful

63. Wife

64. Pancakes

Review Quote - Literary Heist

"[A] sparse yet vital new novel from acclaimed writer and returning Vietnam vet D. S. Lliteras . . . Syllables of Rain attempts and achieves something far richer than yet another war story. The book is itself a survivor of the Viet Nam War—a starkly soulful testament to grief and renewal possessed of deep yet airy nuance, and a shadow world of unspoken rage and unseen thought. A carefully provocative stylist, Lliteras ups his game in this new work by marrying his prose with short etches of Zen-drenched poetry presented at the end of each short chapter in the Japanese 'haibun' style most akin to haiku. Less is certainly more throughout, as the short poems serve to exemplify and sometimes contradict what characters say and do across each smooth chapter.

There is also a great amount of poetry in the prose as well. Seemingly simple, even mundane, words like 'okay,' 'alright,' 'yes,' and 'no' are repeated both in dialogue and description throughout the book in a way that feels more like rich incantation than bored repetition. In a subtly earned way, this hypnotically spare novel of only 176 pages stands as the mirror opposite of protagonist Leopold Bloom's single day evoke over more than 700 pages in James Joyce's 1920s classic Ulysses. Both books can be said to be about heroes—and both books are heroic in each authors' style and method . . . how lucky we are that this small miracle of a book has been put down on the written page."

Review Quote - A Nature's Path (UK blog)

"Unique . . . a very poignant tale with poetic overtones that deepen the reflections the readers are faced: the meaning of our existence and beyond."

Review Quote - The Antioch Review (Summer 2019)

"[A] tight, poetic, daring little book that offers ample dialogue and sparse prose, punctuated with zen-like koans in the style of the Japanese haibun . . . Lliteras has attempted that rarest of all things literary: a hybrid of poetry and prose in the service of a higher good. Lliteras aims for the stars and delivers, if not the moon, then a compelling, workmanlike journey into the fog of war, and the moral compass of return to the things we love and hold dear. A tale of camaraderie and survival in the face of misery and woe, told like a whisper with the power of a bomb, Syllables of Rain feels like a dream and reads like a prayer."

Review Quote - Motherhood Moment (blog)

“I definitely like his [Lliteras'] writing style. His books really make me think. He's definitely an author worth checking out!”

Review Quote - Publishers Weekly

"The author models his book on Japanese haibun—it’s a slim volume in a prose style full of figurative language and interspersed with haiku. This touching book has some lovely phrases ('empty-shelled neighborhoods left to be repaired') and a satisfactory resolution."

Review Quote - Library Journal

"Lliteras (Viet Man) has created a compact, emotionally charged snapshot of two soldiers trying to make sense of the world around them. Combining prose and poetry, this slim novel will leave a lasting impression on anyone who is or has known a military veteran."

Review Quote - The VVA Veteran

"Syllables of Rain is a brilliant work of pure genius by D. S. Lliteras . . . My favorite kind of Vietnam War book is short, poetical, and filled with hard-fought truths . . . This is that book. Distilled from the water of a career of writing books like nobody else can write, D.S. Lliteras has brought his unique genius to bear on the world of the Vietnam veteran . . . Viet Man was the gritty in-country novel, but Syllables of Rain is the poetic novel of a lifetime of coping with war, of struggling to make peace with Vietnam . . . I'd thought that D.S. Lliteras' previous book, Viet Man, was untoppable, but I was wrong. His new book did the trick and more besides."

Review Quote - The MacWire (TMW) Worthy Entertainment & Celebrity News

"D.S. Lliteras' approach in this brave new novel is both very Miles (as in Davis) and also very Kerouac (as in the Beat Generation novel The Dharma Bums). Syllables of Rain is a book that delivers what is most artful and true in Lliteras' writing."

Review Quote - The Echo World--The Alternative Newspaper for Spiritual and Cultural Creatives

“This is a story about two Vietnam veterans . . . it is a story about a spiritual journey that is very real, as it is based in experiences shared by many people in this country. What is most stunning about this book, however, is the style. It is simple, approachable, bittersweet and poetic . . . [Syllables of Rain] touches your heart, expands your empathy and inspires you to go on, no matter the odds.”

Review Quote - The Virginian-Pilot

"A short, poetic, cerebral novel . . . [author] Lliteras provides an after-action report on another damaging consequence of combat: alcoholism . . . [Syllables of Rain] is a tripwire-taut account of two tough combat vets and their troubled attempts at re-entry into civilization. Shakespeare called upon a muse of fire to describe the boil of war; Lliteras invokes the counterpoint of Zen to come back from it . . . an epiphany of sorts . . . wounded eagle or fallen angel, this raging writer stubbornly remains his brother's keeper."

Review Quote - Military Writers Society of America Dispatches (MWSA)

"Syllables of Rain is both subtly jarring and comforting in nature. The imagery evoked by [author] Lliteras—by combining his emotionally charged, yet succinct prose with impactful haiku—leaves the reader wanting more, but fulfilled just the same . . . D.S. Lliteras skillfully takes us on a poignant journey with a gratifying conclusion in this unconventional novel. I recommend Syllables of Rain wholeheartedly."

Review Quote - SEMPER FI (The Magazine of the Marine Corps League) - Vol. 74, No. 2, Spring 2018

"Navy Corpsman and Marine Corps League Member D. S. Lliteras uses a Japanese-style of writing called 'haibun' to express the journey of two combat veterans who struggle living life after war . . . offers a glimpse of the struggle many [veterans] seek to overcome. Many veterans do not find a way to deal with the struggle and a glimmer of hope can mean a great deal. This is an easy read with direct and eloquent text."

Review Quote - Midwest Book Review ("Internet Bookwatch")

"An inherently compelling and fully engaging read from beginning to end, [MBR'S Internet Bookwatch] reviews novelist D.S. Lliteras as having a genuine flair for originality, deftly crafted characters, and a distinctively poetic style of storytelling. The result is a novel that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself is finished and set back upon the shelf . . . very highly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections."

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