Blurb for Séjour Saint-Louis
Brendan Young, a Calgary based businessman who travels more than he’d like, admits to having absolutely no patience for the intransigence of his music-obsessed, teenage son, Elliot. Ongoing domestic disputes have intensified over the years: antipathy now verges on hostile rejection. Elinore, an equally conflicted wife and mother, is threatening separation, a source of great anxiety for Brendan who turns to alcohol for the understanding that eludes him on the home front. His sojourn in Montreal, a city not unfamiliar to him, leads him incident by surreal incident, towards greater understanding through familiarity with the tragic story of Émile Nelligan, who, as a nineteen year-old, enjoyed a successful entry into the artistic community of Montreal in the last decade of the 19th century, and then fell victim to madness. Reconnecting with Emery St James Montesquieu, among old antagonists he encounters at a Yamaska College reunion, proves not only enlightening for Young in its mirroring effect — the troubles in his family are reflected dramatically in those of the young afflicted poet — but also redemptive. Elliot, the musician, will have his apotheosis.
Blurb for Shades of Persephone
Shades of Persephone is a literary mystery that will entertain those who delight in exotic settings, foreign intrigue, and the unmasking of mysterious characters. Crete in 1980-81, more specifically the old Venetian harbour of Chania, provides the background against which expat Canadian Steven Spire labours in pursuit of David Montgomery, his enigmatic and elusive mentor, who stands accused in absentia of treachery and betrayal. The plot has many seams through which characters slide, another of them being the poet Emma Leigh, widow of Montgomery’s imposing Cold War adversary, Heinrich Trüger. In that the setting is Crete, the source of light is manifold, but significant inspiration for Steven Spire comes from Magalee De Bellefeuille, his vision of Aphrodite and his muse. “Find Persephone,” she directs him, “and you’ll find David Montgomery.” Her prompts motivate much of the narrative, including that of the Cretan underground during the Nazi occupation, 1941- 45.
Shades of Persephone presents a story of love and sensuality, deception and war, spiritual quest and creative endeavour. The resolution takes an unanticipated turn but comes as no surprise to the discerning reader. Like Hamlet who must deal with his own character in following the injunctions of his ghostly father, Steven Spire discovers much about the city to which he has returned, but much more about himself and his capacity for love.
Blurb for Lighting The Lamp
Lighting The Lamp dramatizes the efforts of Terry Burke, a sympathetic, at times caustic and critical, but ordinary old guy, to come to grips with who he is and what his life has been. His struggle to accept retirement and to interpret the iterations of the voice in his head spreads to concern over the mysterious death of a wanderer. Terry’s obsession to solve the mystery fuses directly with his personal history and leads him in and out of fascinating, half-remembered mythological landscapes.
A restive Terry is enjoined to revisit the haunts of his youth. Family dynamics of the present, mirrored in Irish heritage of the past, come into play as do contrarian opinions encountered among cronies, distant friends, and lost loves. Motivated by his muse to tell all, what he seeks in addition to understanding is truthful voice and the purest possible point of view. Aware that remembrance of things past in not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were, this quixotic Everyman eventually reaches beyond self, beyond mystery, and beyond theodicy to a philosophical embrace of cosmic apotheosis. In Lighting The Lamp, Montreal provides more than a background for potential jihad-sponsored terrorism, or ghosts out of the past, or a romantic trip down memory lane; the many-layered city takes on the function of a defined and demanding character and declares in a voice Terry hears clearly: “Know me and know yourself!”