by V. DeSormier
February 7, 2005
Reviewer: “vickid” (Sanford, FL USA)
Robert Maniscalco is already well known as a portrait artist, a fine art gallery owner, an actor, a Detroit-area television host, a spokesman for the arts and a musician.
What more can this man do?
Apparently, he can write as well. And his writing is every bit as masterful as his paintings.
Maniscalco’s first novel, The Fishfly, is another masterpiece by a renaissance man who seems to be great at whatever he endeavors to accomplish.
At first glance, one might mistake The Fishfly for a tired mystery novel, but it’s not as predicable as you might think. And once you’ve spun wildly through the chapters, catching glimpses of the past, snipets of the present and maybe a look into the future out of the corner of your eye, you arrive at the end – breathless.
Anyone who has seen any of Maniscalco’s paintings knows that he captures the soul of his subjects with subtle strokes that appear simple yet look past the mere surface to the core of the person. In The Fishfly, he has captured his characters with the same simplicity. Words aren’t wasted, yet the characters come to life with an eeire intensity. If you don’t know these characters when you first settle in with the novel, you can see, smell, taste, touch and hear them by the end.
The book races, sometimes at Warp Speed, through the universe of Don Spinelli – a portrait artist who is struggling to free himself from the demons of his past and ready to take action. He takes you along for the ride, sometimes pulling you around corners or through rooms you just might not want to be in. But that’s part of the beauty of the book. You see and hear everything Spinelli is seeing and hearing and thinking. Quirkly, random, wild thoughts splat in your face from these pages…the same kinds of thoughts that race through all our minds, making us question our sanity. Captured on the pages of The Fishfly, they not only create a more vivid picture, but also assure us that, maybe we’re not as crazy as we might have thought.
The semi-autobiographical book of the artist as a middle aged man is an adventure you’ll not soon forget.