Updated: First view of finalized cover.
by Brian Heffron
Little House Books
In cosmic terms, I came of age just 'up the street' from where this book takes place. Several hundred miles north, a few dozen east, and about the time that the war in Vietnam officially ended.
It was a time of peace, love, and long hair - lots of long hair. A time that I still miss, after 40 years. So, I may be a bit biased, when it comes to the subject matter of this novel.
Colorado Mandala tells the story of three very typical people of that time and place. If you lived in Colorado in the 70s, you knew someone just like them: the 'Nam vet, the long-haired rock climber, and the hippie chick. Money was handy, but few of us managed to hold on to any for very long. We shared what we had and looked after each other.
Heffron speaks with the voice of my memories. One can see, hear, taste what it was like to simply be, on the edge of the mountains when love was free, most of us ... indulged ourselves, and we celebrated the gifts of nature. But life wasn't as simple as we try to remember.
Like the characters, I knew men who served. And who came back ... changed. They were difficult to know, hard to love, and haunted in ways that I'll never understand. Colorado Mandala is the only book I've read that feels as though it 'gets it'.
If you were there, this story is like traveling back to your youth. For everyone else, Heffron's words will take you where we few, we privileged, came of age.
About the Book
With refreshing depth, distinct literary merit, and highly original poetic phrasings that spill from the pages like paint, Colorado Mandala is poet Brian Heffron’s debut work of literary fiction that mines the complex landscape of post-Vietnam America to unearth the deep connections that bind individuals together, and also ferociously rip them asunder. Illustrative, luscious, seductive, and engaging, this rare piece of craftsmanship will stir the senses of any one who thirsts for artistic expression, or who longs for an era in our country now utterly, irretrievably gone.
In the heady, hippie backdrop of Pike’s Peak, Colorado, in the tumultuous 1970s, three souls swirl together in an explosive supernova. Michael is the flinty-eyed, volatile former Green Beret, whose tour in Vietnam has left unbridgeable chasms in his psyche and secrets that can never find light. Sarah is his fair-haired paramour, the ethereal Earth Mother widow of a fallen soldier and single mother to a ten-year-old son Stuart. Paul is a young wanderer, who is drawn in by Michael and soon bears the mantle of both minister and scourge. As they are drawn together, and torn apart, each is changed forever. And our hearts race along with them, through the rocky, raw Colorado terrain amidst the blood sport of man and beast.
Laying bare the loss and acceptance of a pioneering age, Colorado Mandala shines revelatory light on the crazy, glorious, and romantic notion that each generation conceives anew: that love can be a spiritual gift shared openly rather than coveted, or hidden, or hoarded. If you wish to go barefoot again and climb an unspoiled Colorado trail, look no further. If you long for something to wake you up in simple, clean language, a shimmering story awaits. Awaken to what you have always known: simple truths show you the way home. With his gripping and unforgettable Colorado Mandala, it is clear that Brian Heffron knows the way. Simply follow his cue.
About the Author
Brian Heffron is a staff writer/director/producer at KLCS-TV in Los Angeles, an educational PBS station. There he creates new programming to assist teachers and improve student outcomes. Since joining KLCS-TV he has been awarded Tellys, Auroras, Videographers, and Emmys. His most recent series is “The Teacher’s Hour” and can be found here
He learned the ropes of television and motion picture production by working at almost every position on a set from grip to props to production design. Eventually he became a director of photography, shooting the award winning independent feature film, "The Imported Bridegroom".
As to writing, he has been creating poetry & prose since he first met Christopher Robin and Winnie the Poo. "Go, Dog, Go!" was a strong early influence and remains so. His poetry is deeply romantic and infused with images of nature and love, healing and hopefully, humor.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary electronic galley of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.