Let me begin by thanking the Author’s Lounge for the opportunity to write about my book, The Legend of Colgan Toomey. I especially appreciate Jennifer Jackson, who reached out to me about this. Thank you!
I feel confident in saying that you’ve never read a book like The Legend of Colgan Toomey. That doesn’t mean it’s the best book you’ll ever read necessarily, but it’s unique. When people ask me what it’s about, even I have trouble answering sometimes. Well, it’s about football, and small town Alabama, and the Salvadoran Civil War, and a serial killer in Texas, and music, and a tornado…
The book is really about how we know about people, especially people we’ve never met. Every human, intentionally or unintentionally, presents a slightly different face to all the people they meet. If the reader, as a third party, is trying to find about a person from people who know them, they might get a lot of different stories.
To that end, the book presents a man’s life like a kaleidoscope, with more than twenty different narrators giving the reader glimpses into various aspects of who he was. There are chapters narrated by everyone from his high school sweetheart to a guard in a Salvadoran prison.
A large part of the fun, as well as the challenge, of writing this book was trying to inhabit all of these characters and come up with a reasonably authentic voice for each of them. I’ll leave it to my readers to decide whether I achieved that, but the reviews have been mostly positive.
The one person the reader never hears from is Colgan himself. That’s entirely intentional, and it would also be true if you were trying to learn about a regular person who had died. One thing about this book is that there are no easy answers. None of the narrators has the whole picture of who Colgan was, and many of them bring an agenda of their own to the table.
There are a few books that I draw from that present scenes from multiple perspectives. In some ways, The Legend of Colgan Toomey resembles an expanded version of the structure of Akutagawa’s famous short story “In a Grove,” but it takes on the presentation of a whole life, rather than a single scene. Readers have compared the book to everything from World War Z to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold.
I hope that this little article has piqued your interest. The book is available on Amazon at
I’d love to know what you guys think of it. As it says in the back of the book, I am always available on Twitter (@ManerWare), Facebook (only Dargan Ware in the world), or via email ([email protected] gmail.com)