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New Contexts: 2
It is particularly pleasing to be able to bring together the work of forty-seven talented writers – from the UK, the USA, Australia and New Zealand – to create what is a truly eclectic mix of styles and genres. This is our second anthology following on from the publication of “New Contexts: 1” in January of this year.
On Parliament Hill
Her voice is a trigger; a voice which forces Neil to relive the crises and failures of his past, and which offers him the possibility of a positive new future. But before he can decide on what he wants the life ahead of him to look like – and her role in it – he must pass judgement on himself. Ian Gouge’s novels focus on individuals who are trying to come to terms with their histories; characters facing a struggle, and legacies from which they have to find a way to free themselves.
New Contexts: 1
Globally the number of people being creative with language is truly extraordinary. While each of us will have our individual reasons for writing, many of them common, where the majority truly come together is in the desire to be read. When it comes to publication however, of the two deciding factors – talent and luck – the latter is the most fickle. The idea for New Contexts was born from the above. Why not harvest just a small sample of good unpublished writing and create an anthology to showcase it?
A Pattern of Sorts
We often encounter difficulty when trying to reconcile our memories of events with what actually happened. In the almost inevitable mis-match, our mind plays tricks on us, and what we have recently learned and how we have recently lived gets in the way and colours the past. Pressed to recall his own life, the challenge of juggling myth and reality is dangerously fraught for Luke – especially given the story of his remarkable emotional high, and the catastrophe which followed it. “If there was one thing I knew about Luke it was that he liked certainty and closure; he hated loose ends and from what I could see they upset him. But looking back now, is that really true? I mean, did I really think that at the time or is it just me seeing into the heart of it, now that it’s all too late?”
The Opposite of Remembering
Liam is haunted by his age and the history it forces upon him. Yet he is also plagued by the need to make more – to generate new memories to recall later, before it gets too late, especially when his wife of over thirty years turns his world upside down, as does the woman he meets in an anonymous hotel dining room. Against a background of domestic parental turmoil, his daughter fights her own demons to try and make sense of her place in a disintegrating family and the wider world. Much of our lives is enslaved by the act of remembering – but sometimes it is about the opposite of that…
At Maunston Quay
Life weaves its magic of triumphs and disappointments everywhere, and often those burdened with more than their fair share of tragedy can feel lost and alone. Even in a quiet backwater like Maunston Quay people struggle to come to terms with their personal suffering and grief – yet Maunston Quay may offer the kind of second chances that gives hope to everyone.
Degrees of Separation
We are all connected. There are links – like links in a chain – that join each of us, everyone to everyone else. “Degrees of Separation” is a series of short stories, each tied to the next it through one of its two characters. The book’s invisible thread weaves its way across geography and time until the circle is made complete when a character from the first story appears again in the final one. But each story is also a narrative about separation in its own right; a wife from a husband, a son from a father, a friend from a friend. “Degrees of Separation” explores what it means to be apart, and considers the things that can divide us – or potentially keep us together.
The Big Frog Theory
What do you most need when facing a complete disintegration of the life you have been leading? Where does the loss of your job, the betrayal of your wife, lead you? Well, in Neville’s case to a small tea shop at the foot of the Malvern hills. But if he has gone there for some peace, some solitude, the chance to assess his situation and get his life back in order, then he is in for a shock. Is it madness that makes his coffee cup keep magically refilling, or the china geese on the wall try and fly away? And how could it be possible that a stale slice of Black Forest Gateaux would suddenly be able to offer him Agony Aunt advice? Guided by Samuel, an aged coach driver (in his equally aged coach!), follow Neville as his travels take him to Paris, to the Derby at Epsom, dancing on a cruise ship, and into outrageous and dangerous adventures – and towards an unlikely romance that might just save his life…
An Infinity of Mirrors
Given his profession as a Historian, it was inevitable that Mark would find himself one day writing the biography 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, the testimonies of his Aunt, and Charles’ friends, colleagues – and enemies. Yet what he uncovers is unexpected, revealing elements of his father’s life that resonate with his own. The parallels he reveals begin to intrude in a very tangible way on Mark’s interpretation of own his life, his 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.
Losing Moby Dick and Other Stories
Collected together for the first time, Ian Gouge’s three novellas: Losing Moby Dick – a fable about loss and discovery; Writing to Gisella – t story about love, lost and found; and Riding the Escalators – a tale about an innocent adventure that turns sinister and surreal.
Secrets & Wisdom
Primarily a writer of longer pieces of fiction, Ian Gouge has written two novels – “Mirrors” and “The Big Frog Theory” – and a number of novellas – “Losing Moby Dick”, “Writing to Gisella”, and “Riding the Escalators”. “Secrets & Wisdom” is his first collection of short stories, harvested over a period of many years.