We've been sitting on this news awhile, eager to make the announcement, and finally the time has come.
In November we're publishing Mark Lyons' memoir Homing, a book that defies our trove of adjectives. Even a thesaurus doesn't help much: "compelling" is too trite; "devastating" too vague; "powerful" too dull. Here's the description we managed to cobble together:
In this heart-twisting memoir, a teen boy is the object of his mother’s deep sexual urges. Does it cross the line into abuse? Is he responsible for her frequent retreats to mental hospitals? Can he ever forgive her? The son needs most of a lifetime to unravel, then free himself from, the mysteries of her demise.
After reading this book, you won't be the same. Guaranteed.
The genre, memoir, is a departure for us, since we've previously devoted our energies to fiction. This is a book, though, that uses fictional techniques to great effect: imagery, time shifts, odd juxtapositions, inventive syntax. It also displays (which we somehow didn't manage to say in our initial description) a brilliant sense of place, creating a vivid portrait of Southern California in the late 1950s. If you never had the chance to cruise a rebuilt '49 Studee to the Long Beach Pike, this book will take you there.
Most of all, it's the tale of the author's lifelong quest to overcome early trauma. And it's a success story. We dearly need success stories, don't we? Watch for this one in November.
Latest Goodreads review of The Speed of Clouds! Click the image to see the full review.
Item of interest: Ms. Mirai chides the publisher (us) for creating the Kindle ebook as a print replica, meaning that it follows the paperback page by page and the type size isn't adjustable (although you can zoom in to magnify parts of the page). We did that because the novel has multiple types of text distinguished by different typography (a lot of work went into that), and we thought it'd be confusing to the reader if we lost most of that graphic variation in a standard ebook. We tried the published version on our own tablets and it seemed to work fine, though we realized it probably wouldn't work well on a phone.
This is the only one of our ebooks that uses the print replica format. We'd be happy to hear readers' thoughts on the matter. (See the Contact page on this site to send us a message.)
Meanwhile, we can all be mad at Amazon for not making clear which devices are suitable for print replica ebooks.
And oldsters can be nostalgic for the days when no one would have tried to read a book on a phone.
We've always thought our fiction was friendly, but now it's official: David Sanders's novel Busara Road has made the Friendly Fiction list at QuakerBooks, along with the excellent Lilli de Jong by Janet Benton. We haven't read the other books listed, but the title of Vagabond Quakers does sound intriguing.
David is giving a friendly (lowercase) reading tonight at Narberth Bookshop.
Our next public event is a reading by David Sanders at Narberth Bookshop, 221 Haverford Avenue, Narberth, PA 19071, at 7 p.m. on May 30.
This is an excellent, carefully curated bookshop run by long-time literary professional Ellen Trachtenberg. Busara is a Swahili word for wisdom and common sense, so it's fitting that Busara Road runs through Ellen's shop.
The latest review of Busara Road, on the website of the Historical Novel Society, gets the point of the book exactly. Talking about the discoveries of the protagonist, 11-year-old Mark Morgan, the review says:
Mark’s story is one of adventure and discovery, friendship and enmity. His education moves beyond books and blackboards to recent Kenyan history: the remains of the Kazi camp of huts and torture pits where Radio was born and spent the first six years of his life, the actions of Kenyan Home Guard loyal to British colonial rule, and freedom fighter Mau Mau during the Kenyan Emergency of the 1960s.
Click on the image to see the complete review.
David Sanders reading from Busara Road at the Fairmount Arts Crawl in Philly, at a space set up by Toho Publishing and Green Street Poetry. Quite a few people stopped to hear the readers, and a great time was had by all.
The few folks who zoomed by on bikes or motorcycles must not have understood the "Crawl" concept.
Just published today, a fine review of Busara Road in Fiction Writers Review. The reviewer, Ellen Prentiss Campbell, offers a detailed overview of the book and a discussion of some of the challenges a novel of this sort faces. Here's an excerpt:
Limited knowledge, understanding, and perspective are among the inherent challenges for a novelist employing a child’s point of view, especially in historical fiction. It is additionally challenging, even risky, to draw closely on personal childhood experience. After all, “what happened” doesn’t necessarily lend itself to the arc of story. Yet Sanders successfully navigates these challenges, in part by using memory as inspiration and jumping off point, exposing Mark [the protagonist] “more directly to the dark repercussions” of Kenya’s past than [Sanders] was himself during his much more secure childhood sojourn.
On Saturday, April 20, 7 p.m., Miriam Seidel will read from The Speed of Clouds at Norwescon, "The Pacific Northwest's Premier Science-Fiction and Fantasy Convention," in Seattle. According to the official Norwescon schedule, the reading is rated PG, which means it's suitable for this blogger. The site is the Doubletree Seattle Airport, Cascade 3, and despite what the graphic says, you may not need a towel.
"Danger, suspense, and joy": We don't know that we've ever seen those words joined together before, but they make sense as a description of Busara Road, the new novel by David Hallock Sanders. The reviewer is J. Brent Bill, who says on Goodreads that the book is "well written, with fascinating characters, danger, suspense, and joy. I highly recommend it."
Click here for info about launch party on April 7th!