The Spirit Flies Wonderful Distances

With his twelfth book, The Spirit Flies Wonderful Distances, Robert Congemi moves somewhat away from realistic literature to writings to one degree or another of magical realism. Realistic pieces appear here and there in the book—”I Know You Now,” “Combat,” “The Homeless,” “The House of Cripples,” but so do stories that begin using the non-realistic to enhance story interest and theme–“In Shadows, “Karmic Riddle,” “Teddy and the Gods.” In these writings, sudden blindness wrecks havoc on sighted people, consciousness floats between the minds of several people, Zeus and Hades and Erato meddle in human lives, so do Justice, Injustice and—surprise—Mark Twain! With other stories, the presence of the magical is majorly increased, as in “Letters from an Ancient Traveler,” “The Great Marathoner,” “At Nighttime, They Come Alive at the Mall.” Manikins do come alive, Time shows up at family get-togethers, Jefferson and Washington appear at coffee breaks, while Archangels, immortal space travelers, and superhuman athletes lend a hand to or bedevil mere mortals. For instance, in “The Great Marathoner,” the world’s greatest runner ever to be materializes on the track of a small town YMCA. “In Letters from an Ancient Traveler,” an eons-old citizen from a star at the center of our galaxy on his way home lingers in Manhattan to discuss contemporary world conditions.