An Eye for an Eye: The Vase of Many Colors by Steve Shear.
The Vase of Many Colors Books I, II, and III explore the orthodoxic ills in Western Religions in a way that taps into the emotions of ordinary readers looking for serious and important content while at the same time wanting a truly exciting story. To achieve this, it utilizes three distinct parts in which first-person accounts describe the journey of Ira Neebest from birth until he returns from the jungles of India after being kidnapped by ISIS and the Iranian Ayatollah for writing The First Coming, a Nobel Prize winning novel about the evils of religious orthodoxy.
The first part, An Eye for an Eye, (Book I) portrays Ira’s parents and their love affair made in heaven… if only they were left alone to relish it. It also portrays their family, religious Jews on Ira’s maternal side and devout atheists on his paternal side. That in and by itself makes for serious conflicts, but that’s the least of it. When Rebecca, Ira’s mother, becomes pregnant out of wedlock carrying Ira in her belly, all hell breaks loose. She is disowned by her father and despised by her mother-in-law. What happens to them reminds me of Romeo and Juliet, well at least Juliet. The second part, Black Hearts & Hungry Bears, (Book II) revolves around Ira’s wife, Natalie who was born into a truly dysfunctional, poor Catholic family and abandoned at the age of ten. She was left at a Catholic boarding school, raped at the age of fifteen by monk teaching there, and then accused of causing his demise. Much later she met and fell in love with Ira at an art studio in Florence, Italy. She could not have imagined what was to follow. The third part, The First Coming, (Book III) describes Ira’s remarkable journey including his own book, The First Coming, and the trouble it caused him and Natalie. He was shot, kidnapped by Iranian extremists’ intent on beheading him; he was left to die in the Indian jungle where he confronted a giant white tiger and other creatures during his fits of delusion. In the meantime, Natalie was poisoned by the same extremists and remained in a coma.
All of this between the front cover that displays the very vase of many colors and the back cover that quotes several 5 Star reviews.
5 Stars: Underlying conflicts are as old as humanity!
Author Steve Shear skillfully brings the reader into ‘‘The Vase of Many Colors’: An Eye for an Eye Book One’ with a strong ‘Prologue’ set on July 4, 1973 in New York City. A stranger passes the newsstand to catch a quick glimpse if the headline “Jerusalem Rabbi is found dead in in his hotel room”.
The author sets up each chapter with the main character’s name, date and location.
I quickly identified with his main character Rebecca. With a strong Jewish name, a father whose family dominance is driven by his Jewish Orthodoxy who rules with a harsh hand driving his daughter to question her faith and go in search of her own truth, even if this means hiding a copy of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and listening to Elvis Presley on her radio.
Leonard an Episcopalian by birth, (his parents both professors at Amherst, Massachusetts) struggles with his own Identity and restrictions formed by his beliefs system from infancy, now clash with college culture and his own atheist leanings.
Hlomo Schoenfeld is studying to become a Rabbi and is stunned when his arranged wife to be, Rebecca, shunned his proposal in late spring of 1956 in Jerusalem.
Morris Goldshein is uncle to Rebecca and makes annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem from St. Louis. Although he is not her favorite uncle, she is his favorite niece. He is impressed with Rebecca’s spirit of independence. Morris along with Rebecca’s Aunt Esther, will champion her throughout her life.
The stage is set, Leonard leaves Amherst for Washington University in St. Louis in the early fall of 1956 and Rebecca leaves Jerusalem in the winter of 1956 for St. Louis to live with Uncle Morris and Aunt Esther in America.
The family Rabbi instills and enforces doctrine, morality and commandments, it is the fear and guilt that either glues or unglued Rebecca. The results of extreme control (physically, mentally and spiritually proves devastating.
I quote from Rebecca’s Aunt Esther (in St Louis) (Chapter 21): “Metaphorically speaking, I felt as if I were caught between the jaws of an emotional vise given the situation· now facing me, the situation of my own making, the situation in which Rebecca blamed herself for the death of her parents and siblings. On the one hand, I thanked God every day for having my niece’s love and friendship, not to mention the love and friendship of Leonard and Ira, Ira most of all. On the other hand, I uprooted Rebecca. I introduced her to Leonard. I championed the environment that promoted their relationship. I was the one who set into motion a runaway locomotive that I should have known would derail and crash into a chasm of unrelenting guilt. But never in my wildest nightmares did I contemplate the breadth of that chasm or its impenetrable depth.”
The characters are vivid and the story well written. The underlying conflicts are as old as humanity, as young people try to come to terms with their family structure, religious or non-religious indoctrination, resulting in the physical, emotional and spiritual pain of seen or perceived hypocrisy and the death trap of fear, guilt and yes, revenge (‘Eye for An Eye’) that extends to generation and must be revisited.
Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Satanic Verses’ zero in on the ills of religious orthodoxy and extreme ideology. Author Steve Shear’s approach to the same age-old questions, brings the imagery and personal relationships, and consequences that affects his characters right onto the page for his readers to arise at their own conclusions.
Editorial Review (Book Marketing Global Network).
Book One in the ‘The Vase of Many Colors’ Series
Paperback: 301 Pages
Publisher: Independently Published (January 27, 2022)
Global Library: Fiction (Literary)
Message From Author Steve Shear: My early paintings (1986 – 2013) can best be described as expressionistic and surreal portraiture/figure, often larger than life. Most are from live models and from my sculptures, but others come from my imagination. My objective was to elicit an emotional response through composition, color, shapes, and the application of paint, while at the same time retaining the correct anatomy, either realistically or through purposeful exaggeration. In the latter part of that earlier period, I pushed the envelope by combining abstraction with these real and surreal approaches to the figure in order to create a synergistic result. One example of combining these approaches is the Sisters of Baghdad.
Many of my ideas came from my drawings (virtually thousands of them) which were created out of my head on almost a daily basis. An example of this is The Chess Queen. In 2013 I put the paint brushes and sculpting tools aside and began writing fiction, first poetry then novels, screenplays, and stage plays. Six of my novels have been published and two of my stage plays. See below.
In 2020 I began painting again. This time I turned to color and shapes rather than portraiture and figure. My paint is applied in thick layers exaggerated even more so by multiple layers of glue serving as an underpinning. The glue not only adds thickness to the paint but also runs in ways which produces unique shapes that take on lives of their own. Several examples are shown on this website.
Two of my more recent paintings (immediately below) are truly larger than life depictions of a ‘Vase of many Colors’ and of the Greek mythological bad lady Medea. Each painting is 32×48 and relies heavily on multiple layers of glue to add ‘serious’ thickness to the paint.
In the past, my work was exhibited at a number of galleries in Boulder, Denver, Tucson, and here in Brentwood California. I spent five years painting under the watchful eyes of Jean Packard, a graduate of the Chicago Art Institute, two summers at the Charles Cecil Art Studio in Florence, Italy, and several years at the Boulder Art Academy in Boulder, Colorado. I also trained in sculpting under Valentin Okorokov, an accomplished Russian trained painter and sculptor.
The Trials of Adrian Wheeler was my first published novel (L&L Dreamspell, 2011). It was awarded runner-up in the San Francisco Book Festival 2015. I am happy to say that The Trials of Adrian Wheeler has been optioned as a movie by EVW Entertainment (producer of the movie Break the Stage), and the screenplay has been written by Erik Wolter and me. EVWE is now looking for partners to produce the movie.
The Wild Rose Press published The Fountain of Youth, my second published novel, in May of 2017. It has received exceptional reviews, some of which appear on Amazon and Goodreads. Also, the stage play has just been completed. The screenplay has also been written by Erik Wolter and me. EVWE is now looking for partners to produce the movie. The Click, my third novel, was published by The Wild Rose Press in September of 2019, again the screenplay has been written by Erik Wolter and me. EVWE is now looking for partners to produce the movie.
All three books of my trilogy, Confronting Religious Fanaticism – An Eye for an Eye, Black Hearts & Hungry Bears, and Ira Neebest and The First Coming have been published. In addition, my first book of poetry, Metaphorically Speaking was just published.
My wife, Susan, and I collaborated on The State vs. Max Cooper and The Steele Deal (published by ArtAge Publications), courtroom plays in which the audience serves as the jury. Both are being produced around the country.
I have been writing poetry for over fifteen years (some of which has been published) and am also a portrait and figure artist and sculptor, having been represented by a number of galleries in Denver and Boulder, Colorado. I am presently represented by the Delta Gallery in Brentwood, California and online by Vango Art. I spent two summers at the Charles Cecil Art Studio in Florence Italy and several years at the Boulder Art Academy.
I practiced patent, trademark, copyright and other forms of intellectual property law for over 40 years, and I was the executive director and founder of Silicon Valley Seminars. We conducted intellectual Property workshops throughout this country, Israel, Germany, and Canada since 1984.
Prose Poetry Paintings and More by Steve Shear:
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Paintings-Drawings and Sculpture For Sale by Artist Steve Shear
Author’s Page At Book Marketing Global Network: