Author and environmental activist Edward Abbey (1927-1989) once said that, “The artist in our time has two chief responsibilities: art; and sedition.” In the art of fiction, sedition can sometimes be as simple as telling the truth. That’s what Paul Soderberg does in Golden Insanity, a collection of 5 novellas and 5 short stories.
City of Sorrow tells the truth about Health Care in America today. The Butterfly Bird: Literacy. Still Life With Miagi: Fine Art. A Far Better Thing: America in the “Age of Terror.” Homeless Love: the “problem” of the homeless. Little Things: 5 short stories about the world’s 5 great religions, all of which are followed in America today.
The collection’s title is defined in one of the novellas: “Golden Insanity exists in a man or woman when, despite all evidence to the contrary, he or she continues to believe in the goodness of people and the beauty of life.”
In City of Sorrow, 3 pediatric ER nurses battle the “managed care” mentality by which profits are more important than patients. In The Butterfly Bird, a 14-year-old girl wants to grow up to be a novelist, but her mother wants her to be a businesswoman. In Still Life With Miagi, 2 childhood best friends, 6-year-old girls, want to be artists. One has no talent, the other becomes the greatest painter of her generation. One achieves fame and fortune, the other ends up in an asylum and commits suicide. In Homeless Love, as a result of his highly suspicious pattern of doing good deeds, a two-nation manhunt is launched to find and apprehend a homeless man (and his orange cat). The 5 short stories in Little Things are about key moments in the histories of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.
Alan Dean Foster, author of more than 100 novels and novelizations (including the novelizations of the movies Star Wars, Alien, and Clash of the Titans), praised this author’s second novel with these words: “Seething, colorful, and alive with unforgettable characters, Paul Soderberg’s The Elephant Queen sucks the reader into the festering underbelly of Southeast Asia and refuses to let go.” Paul Soderberg’s newest fiction, Golden Insanity, does the same thing for the United States.