Finally in Print and Online! Island Gothic and Other Stories appeared last week on Amazon’s websites in paperback and Kindle editions. Kindle users: watch this space for advance notice of Amazon’s free download offers. Write now for a free review copy.
Each of the stories in this collection takes place in a different country. The classic gothic tale is usually about castles, mysterious cloaked passengers in horse-drawn carriages, secret underground passages and beautiful, swooning heroines (Think Seven Gothic Tales, published by Isak Dinesen/Karen Blixen in 1934). The title story, Island Gothic, transports this ambience to a South Pacific idyll of the late 1930s.
Politicians the world over invariably get a bad press. The Candidate is a sympathetic portrayal of the personal sacrifices they often have to make in pursuit of a career that consumes their private lives.
China dominates world headlines today after three decades of unprecedented economic growth. All the more difficult to remember that for a turbulent decade, from roughly 1966 to 1976, the entire country went through a series of enormous upheavals that tore communities apart, destroyed centuries worth of history and culture, shattering countless lives in the process. Storm Conductor is the story of a violin virtuoso who manages to emerge, artistically intact, from the ashes of Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China.
Katabatic winds are fearsome and frequently blow out of the large and elevated ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland. In Greenland, these winds are known as the Piteraq. As high density cold air builds up over the ice sheets, enormous gravitational forces come into play, driving the air downslope at well over hurricane force, especially in the McMurdo dry valleys of the Antarctic.
Antarctic Katabatic is a tongue-in-cheek persiflage that is in no way intended to belittle the real achievements of research scientists who advance the frontiers of human knowledge under Indiana-Jones-like conditions. On the contrary, this is a light-hearted tribute to the single-minded pursuit of scientific discovery at the ends of the world.
In Stefan and the Song of Solomon, the amorous verse of the Biblical king pervades a little hut in the Austrian Alps and emboldens a shy young student of theology to declare his love.
Adventures in the Hormone Trade is based on the early experiences of a wandering pharmaceutical salesman in rural South India. India is an idea, a composite of many countries within a common border, a veritable sub-continent. An identifiable Indian-ness has evolved over seven decades of independence. Nevertheless, urban and rural India are two different countries even today. The divide was even more pronounced in the 1970s, before the advent of television and cell phones. A traffic accident on a lonely road late at night proves to be a turning point in a young man’s life and attitudes.
I hope you enjoy these stories. Feedback is welcome.