Collectively, the titles in Johnny Dolphin’s trilogy (39 Blows on a Gone Trumpet, Journey Around an Extraordinary Planet and Liberated Space) explore every area of human activity while simultaneously illuminating a time period (the sixties) that remains one of the most vigorous and captivating eras of the last century.
In 39 BLOWS, the protagonist, Joe Madison, comes face to face with the power of the world, his own power, and the prospect of having an influence on the course of history. He also discovers what it means be a thinker, a poet, a lover, and a human, in the fullest sense of the word. Manhattan, Iran and Morocco provide the pulse for the action in this energetically philosophical novel.
In Journey Around an Extraordinary Planet, the second title in the trilogy, Dolphin’s Joe Madison has the opportunity to learn about global synchronicity through a series of adventures that takes him even deeper into his exploration of the world around him. His visits to the Magic Room in Tangiers, the Tombs of Knowledge in Egypt and Asia and through the harsh reality of 1960s Vietnam are remarkable and unforgettable. His return to the New York coincides with the start of the American counter-revolution, for which, he finds, his journeys have somehow prepared him.
In the final novel of the trilogy, Liberated Space, we follow Joe Madison into the heart of the Haight-Ashbury during the counter-revolution. The descriptions that Dolphin provides of that particular time and place offer the reader perhaps the most accurate and conclusive chronicle ever written.
In addition to having the opportunity to experience the world vicariously through the wonderfully spirited and creative mind of Johnny Dolphin’s Joe Madison, the trilogy reflects Madison’s (and therefore Dolphin’s) fervent passion for the literature of the ages: from Maykovsky’s ardor to Blake’s ecstatic wrath; from the eloquence of Whitman to the density of Joyce; from the ‘cut-up’ technique of Burroughs to the terse and exacting poetry of Brecht; and the love of the unknown that stretches from Khayyam to Baudelaire. Because of the richness of these (and other) literary references, as well as the richness of philosophical engagement resulting from Madison’s encounters with various characters from other cultures, to read the trilogy is to experience a sense of the universal… even as we zero in on a decisive moment in the history of our world.