Novel 'O Man of Clay.' After sea-level rise.

My photo
County Durham, United Kingdom
'O Man of Clay,' set in Hartlepool and Siberia in the near future while the tundra is thawing and the sea level rising, was published in January 2020 by Stairwell Books.

Monday 30 December 2019

Review: Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver

At the end of the old year, running into the arms of the new, here is a book that will make your heart flutter.

Barbara Kingsolver's Flight Behaviour is a wonderful book: warm and humorous, yet simultaneously serious and thoughtful, it is about how we come to terms with a terrifying unknown future of changing climate and nature off kilter - by working together, talking, taking practical steps, by small actions, by setting about trying to see and understand so that we can do what might be needed. This is a tale of a moment of epiphany and its gradual aftermath; one minute the main character is looking for a way out of the humdrum and the next, she gets more than she bargained for. Having been making ends meet on the lower slopes of an Applachian mountainside, a momentous experience leads her to examine her old life and see her children and relationships in a different light. At a juncture in life when she was frustrated and yet open to something new, she finds the change she wanted and needed lie in a deeper understanding of her own surroundings. Her moment of awakening is, of course, the one we may desire, need and fear, the one that will allow us to see ourselves as we really are - as part of nature - and, at a time when the way we live and use the planet is pushing nature out of joint, show us other possible ways of being.

Saturday 21 December 2019

Review: The Chernobyl Privileges by Alex Lockwood

I am so impressed by my fellow book launch author's powerful and moving environmental novel, 'The Chernobyl Privileges,' that I have decided to review it for my blog. I thoroughly recommend it to readers looking for a good read with a strong storyline and who are also interested in the effects on the lives of ordinary people of the decisions that governments, politicians and organisations make. So here goes...

Review: The Chernobyl Privileges by Alex Lockwood

This is a novel about bonds: those of blood and those that bind particles in the nucleus of an atom – and about the forces that break each apart. It is narrated from the point of view of Anthony, both in the current narrative time and during his childhood and shows how incidents in his adult life force him to face what happened in the past. It deals sensitively with that instinct for self-preservation that causes distance to open up between people. The moments when Anthony could have drawn closer to those he loves yet fails to do so multiply, and the reader is right there looking across the widening gulf and weighing up each choice and decision with him. The reasons that prevent people from choosing to alleviate their own suffering are thrown into stark relief, and we see how, at a time of crisis, political forces can seek to exploit human vulnerabilities for their own ends.
 Alex is a superb craftsman, holding back the increasingly inevitable; when they come, acts both small and life-changing strike the reader with a terribly poignancy. A compelling read, this is a novel for the present moment with intimations of how little, it seems, we have learned.

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Launch Barnard Castle, 6th December

JOINT EVENT: PRE-LAUNCH of O Man of Clay by Eliza Mood and LAUNCH of The Chernobyl Privileges by Alex Lockwood

'O Man of Clay' was previewed on the 6th December 2019 prior to its launch on 16th January 2020. Alex Lockwood and I read extracted from our books at an event held in Barnard Castle at the Guild room, the Parish hall of St. Mary's Church.

The evening was hosted by No. 5 Coffee Shop and Curlews Books - a wonderful bookshop with an imaginative proprieter: second hand and new, sofas and table and coffees in lively surroundings with a hum of talk and much going on. The occasion was the Christmas meeting of Teesdale Action on Climate Transition. As well as readings from the two books, my editor, Rose Drew of Stairwell books chaired a talk about the contribution literature might make to the climate debate among other matters: Alex, Rose and I talked and the audience got involved. School gardens were raised and dug over. Robin Dale sang some great Teesdale songs by Graeme Miles - including Sea Coal and Greatham Marshes. An interesting evening. (I will add a picture soon.)

If you haven't yet read the Chernobyl Privieges by Alex Lockwood, I urge you to do so: a great read, a gradual and meticulously structured build up, a compelling story with powerful resonances. (Coverpic. soon if I can get one in a compatible format).

What's Happening?

  26th October 2021 Under dark pines. Candletuft fungus struck the match. Gold and red crisp packet deeper in, lit the gloom. Stumbled on a ...

More postings from the edgelands