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Applying his well-honed poetic talent to fictional literature, Mr. Curtis masterfully bridges a dissimilar yet exacting wordsmith skill to stylistically open and unrestrained story-telling. This difficult editorial transition represses unnecessary dissertation in favor of illuminating expression. The style and message are on point, as actions truly speak louder than words in this work. For these scallywags, consciousness is measured in liters of alcohol consumed, not in the weight of their collective intellect.
Mr. Curtis draws from personal experience to characterize for readers the seemingly inexplicable allure of a low social order. The thematic element of grievous loss interweaves this disturbingly enlightened story of Britons whose lives have taken irreparable turns for the worse; from war-weary soldiers to the psychologically scarred, sexually abused, and criminally insane, redemptive solace is sought in the anonymity of the street.
Realistic descriptions of the contradictory behavior of the fictitious downfallen invite the reader to whoop at the comedic antics of personal retribution, wince at the vileness of unsustainable hygiene, wonder at the endurance of human love and sexuality, and despair at the often violent and tragic beginning or end to the desperate bid for survival. The author’s cast of outcasts exposes us to the most unsuspecting of down-and-out characters; many unsheathed from the protective coating of family and productive lives; others cloaked in criminal intent.
Mr. Curtis’s blended approach of narrative story-telling and first-person delivery creates a realism few would dare attempt -- at least voluntarily, or without dire cause. The natural question for the observant is how to learn to truly empathize with and successfully address the problems of the dispossessed without undergoing similar experiences.
The Scallywags Highway effectively breaks the ice on this expository party conversation. No drinks required.