East meets West 

Atlanta author searches for Holy Grail

Holy Grail, Holy Grail: Quest East, Quest West is a powerful novel with all the characteristics of a cult classic. Like Merlin "amongst his bubbling chemicals, his homunculi and astronomical charts," author Gary Corseri forges a literary alchemy to describe the timeless terror and grace of the human condition -- our bungled and brilliant search for the ever-elusive truth.

Corseri tells an archetypal story of the hero in battle with what we know must be the impossible conundrum. It's the story of our familiar hero, Sir Lancelot, in unfamiliar terrain. Set in Arthurian Britain, several fascinating periods of Japan, and modern Atlanta, Holy Grail traces Lancelot's journey through time and culture as he faces uncompromising challenges, not the least of which are the awesome powers of his nemesis in extremis, the Blue Man.

Merlin and Lancelot have grown since we last saw them. They have a new complexity that expands their awe and understanding of the mysteries beyond our senses, yet they remain vulnerable to folly. When West meets East, old assumptions wither on the shore as our heroes bathe in the confluence of culture and history.

Corseri does an outstanding job of writing a modern epic that is, on the surface, accessible and fun, while being deeply provocative and intellectually jolting. His characters feel real and essential and his attention to historical accuracy, particularly in his passages on Japan, is reverent and poetic. As you read, you see this book in full color.

Gary Corseri lives in Atlanta and often can be found reciting poetry or reading from a chapter in one of his novels at local literary events. Happening upon one of these events, I felt as if I had discovered a hidden treasure. If, like me, you enjoy hidden treasures, find this book, savor it and pass on the good news.

Holy Grail, Holy Grail: Quest East, Quest West.

By Gary Corseri. 393 pages. $19.50 trade paperback.

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