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Front cover onlyAn Infinity of Mirrors – by Ian Gouge

[Published 1st May 2018]

Given his profession as a Historian, it was inevitable that Mark would find himself one day writing the story of his late father, the acclaimed author Charles Packard. As his biographer, Mark is blessed with a wealth of material: first-hand experience, his father’s own work, testimonies of his Aunt, and Charles’ friends, colleagues and enemies.

Yet what he uncovers is unexpected, elements of his father’s life resonating with his own. These parallels begin to intrude in a very tangible way on Mark’s interpretation of own his life, his own history becoming more closely aligned to that of his father.

Instead of being the closing of a chapter, a sealing up of the past, the biography proves to be something far darker, unleashing personal daemons that Mark could never have anticipated.

9781999784034Punctuations from History – by Ian Gouge

[Published 5th February 2018]

“Punctuations from History” is Ian Gouge’s latest collection of poems, a volume that in various ways explores our place in, and relation to, history. Whilst there are similarities in theme to his collection “Human Archaeology” (which debuted at the 2017 Ripon Poetry Festival), the threads tying these pieces together are looser, more fluid.

In an unusual departure, “Punctuations from History” contains brief ‘context commentaries’ that provide the reader with a foothold into the individual poems: “an attempt to offer up a literary trowel to allow the reader to get below the surface of the poem more readily”.

Overall, the collection tries to assist with unravelling notions of “how we were / or how we are now / or how we might yet be”; fragments or mirrors offered up from our ‘punctuated history’.

AOS cover onlyLosing Moby Dick and Other Stories – Ian Gouge

[Published 1st November 2017]

A collection of three novellas previously published as independent paperbacks (though still available as separate Kindle e-books).

LOSING MOBY DICK

Books are, for many people, precious things. They become host not only to the words within them, but to individual history and memory, thoughts and feelings. So when Jack finds he has lost his old copy of “Moby Dick” he is suddenly knocked off-balance. He knows that it should not really matter that much – but it had ‘associations’…

So Jack determines to replace it – and not with a pristine copy, but if he can, with an old second-hand volume from the very bookshop at which he acquired his original.

A simple enough proposition you might think. But then Jack discovers that in the intervening years many things have changed, and Twerton’s bookshop is not what it was. It is much, much different…

WRITING TO GISELLA

In many ways it was the perfect, idyllic summer break: unexpected, taken on impulse, filled with sun, culture, and the beauty of Tuscany. And it was also filled with love; the kind of love that changes a young man’s life forever.

And then, suddenly, the dream is killed and there is nothing but vacuum. For years.

Until her letter arrives unexpectedly, finding him – them both indeed – different people.

Rick’s choice is binary. Does he – after all this time, and after the pain of a broken heart – simply ignore her letter? Or does he respond? Does he risk opening old wounds in the search for the answers to all those questions that once ravaged him?

And if he does respond, where will her letters lead him?

RIDING THE ESCALATORS

What could possibly go wrong? After all, Mitch’s idea is quite a simple one. And innocent too. The shopping mall in his town is vast: five floors of bright lights, chrome, glass; acres of products from candles to candelabra, from jumpers to jackets, music to toys. It is also filled with escalators – they too are brightly lit, shinning. They cross-cross between the floors, gluing the whole place together, allowing it to function.

And that’s Mitch’s idea. Most people would take one or two escalators, just the ones they needed to get from A to B. But what if the escalators were made the most important thing in the mall? What if someone chose to go to the mall, ignoring the shops, just to ride them? Could you really ride them all in one session, just once each, no duplicates, no cheating, adhering to ‘the rules’?

That’s the goal. But what starts out as a challenge of one sort soon turns into something much more strange and sinister – and Mitch suddenly finds himself and his new-found friends Suzi and Mr Lee in all sorts of danger…

SW Covers v1Secrets & WisdomIan Gouge (2nd edition)

‘Secrets & Wisdom’ started life in 2016 as a project with a specific design. The idea was to write a series of short stories, each based on one of the traditional Olympian Gods and on one or more of their individual characteristics. In addition, each story would contain within it either a ‘secret’ held close by the protagonist, or the demonstration – or otherwise! – of ‘wisdom’ / self-knowledge in some form or other.

Over time, as the original project progressed, the reworking of some additional material – both modern and ancient – appeared to lend itself to the general theme, and so the notion was born to expand the brief of ‘Secrets & Wisdom’ and to create a slightly wider and more eclectic collection of short stories.

From the original project, “Angela”, “Anne”, “Hester”, “Hobart” and “Westminster” have made it into this volume (the remaining seven Gods currently lie dormant until they are awoken at some point in the future!).

So what is the genesis of the rest of material?

There is a considerable variety in the style and length of the stories here – in the latter, they range from 2 to 40 pages long!

Some pieces – such as “My Dear Polly” and “Vinno” – had seen many anniversaries prior to being dusted off and re-worked for inclusion. Inevitably, a number were, on first drafting, a little like the unwanted guest at a party whose presence makes one feel slightly awkward; however, after a few drinks and a make-over, they suddenly become best friends!

“How Does It Start?”, “Stanley Grice” and “A Strange Kind of Map” are reasonably recent stories. At over 13,00 words, “How Does It Start?” is the longest story in this collection, and quite possibly one of the ‘star turns’.