Percy in Paradise is a short literary novel centered in the Bermuda Triangle of the three topics one is urged to avoid in social settings: sex, politics, and religion. Yet, somehow it is really about none of these things. Alternately hysterically funny and deeply disturbing, the story follows a unique homeless man as he negotiates the improbable events of the last day of his life. Percy is an artist, street musician, and social activist with a rapport for nature comparable to St. Francis of Assisi. He seems to have something that everybody wants or needs, even Jesus, who has a job for him that he is reluctant to accept. As we watch Percy cope with it all, we gain a fresh perspective on what it means to be alive, and what the concepts of morality and altruism might still mean outside the bounds of traditional religion. The plot is fast moving and farcical at times, jumping from contrasting events like feeding starving owls on a darkened island to sex games gone awry. At times it is startling realistic, but at others it indulges in larger than life flights of fantasy. What holds it all together is that we come to like Percy and to care about him and in so doing, we become caught up in the dramatic conclusion that determines his fate. Ray Staszko's fiction has always surprised with exquisitely unique portraits of unusual characters. Percy In Paradise is no exception.
David Astrof, Consultant Editor