Early Commentaries

“Tobacco Brown, remarkable for its canny conflation of art and ideas, is the best work of fiction I’ve yet encountered in the 21st century. The book’s hero, Barney Kadesh, to preserve his fragile sanity, conjures up Tobacco Brown, the most dangerous Civil War soldier turned cowboy loner since Owen Wister’s Virginian. I am most impressed by the accuracy with which the character’s psychosis is portrayed, exceedingly rare in any fiction.

“Stealing what he can from history, the author compels us across moonscapes of characters fully worthy of the early Thomas Pynchon’s wacko-realism of V and Gravity’s Rainbow. I am known as a tough, even stingy grader of medical description and of narrative fiction. On both, I must give Tobacco Brown nothing less than an A+.”

–Lewis R. Baxter, Jr., M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, University of Florida, Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, UCLA

“A very funny, very smart, deeply moving book whose conclusions about consciousness, free will, and the nature of reality I couldn’t disagree with more.”

–Edie Shapiro, Librarian/Archivist,
Philosophical Research Society, Los Angeles

“An astonishing work of the imagination, filled with marvelously clever songs, ballads, and parodies of exquisite malevolence. You can hear the music in the language. Its two love stories are, in their turn, sensuous, emotionally wrenching, transcendent. The novel is hysterically funny and unpredictable. I can’t wait to read it again! This work should not only be read, it should be taught. Tobacco Brown is a landmark.”

–Robert Robin, Novelist

“The excellence of Richard Shapiro’s storytelling has given us, in Tobacco Brown, a fascinating and purely original work of modern American literature. The backstory of T.B. is utterly cinematic and will make a jewel of a motion picture.”

–David Paulsen, Writer/Director

"The best work of fiction I’ve yet encountered in the 21st century."

Lewis R. Baxter, Jr., M.D.,
Professor of Psychiatry
and Neuroscience,
University of Florida

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"The backstory of T.B. is utterly cinematic and will make a jewel of a motion picture."

David Paulsen,
Writer/Director

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"A very funny, deeply moving book whose conclusions about the nature of reality I couldn’t disagree with more."

Edie Shapiro, Librarian/Archivist,
Philosophical Research Society

read more

"An astonishing work of the imagination which should not only be read, it should be taught. Tobacco Brown is a landmark."

Robert Robin, Novelist

read more