“Fathers and Sons”: A place in Russian Literature

fathers-and-sonsRussian literature is often regarded from one of two points of view: the first, while perhaps conscious of its reputation for psychological depth, spiritual insight, and political allegory approach the weighty tomes of a Tolstoy or a Dostoevsky with a kind of existential dread not unlike what one might experience when having the tools of an 18th century dentist uncovered before one’s eyes while being asked to open your mouth and say “ahhhh”.  In this view, the rewards, though there may be some, are not worth the mental slog required to surmount such literary obstacles.  To those of the second point of view (of which I count myself one), Russian literature is a four course meal prepared by a master chef that fills both mind and soul with insight into the human condition.  19th century tsarist Russia invariably had its problems, but for a time it produced a literary culture the likes of which had been unseen since the poets, playwrights, and philosophers of ancient Greece.  For both types, I have good news and bad.  The good news, particularly for those of you who identify with the first type of person, is that Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons may provide the perfect introductory work into the rich, varied world of Russian literature; but for those of the second type, the bad news is that I find the work ultimately to be undeserving of its prestigious reputation.  Allow me to elaborate.

The controversy surrounding its publication in the mid-1800’s is undoubtedly also the reason which has led to its reputation among the literary elite, and that being embodied in the character of Bazarov.  It was Bazarov the nihilist, with his newfangled philosophies, which sent shivers down the spines of the older, conservative Russian bourgeoisie, and it was Bazarov the nihilist who in the novel as well as in Russia itself, sent shivers down the spines of the mid-level landowners–the liberal democrats (not necessarily to be confused with the modern American understanding of the term)–and it is indeed Bazarov the nihilist who sets the novel apart from its literary contemporaries.  While I know of few people in modern society who would openly identify themselves as nihilists (besides perhaps the Germans from The Big Lebowski), it is nevertheless the philosophy which in recent years has begun to so thoroughly decimate modern popular culture.  The embrace of a kind of cosmological cynicism and complete distrust of any institution or moral philosophy can be found at the heart of such overrated filmmakers as Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, Steven Soderbergh, and several other critical darlings.  What was seen as controversial and new in the mid-19th century is now old, tired, and caustic, having long since overstayed its welcome as its damaging effects have been felt all throughout the 20th century.

The fallacy, though, of course is in the notion that nihilism (from the Latin, meaning a belief in nothing) was somehow a new philosophy even in the mid-19th century, when of course it was not new at all, but a very old mistake given fresh life by a new generation.  It is here that the generational conflict implied by the title of the novel comes to bear.  The older generation adopting what might be seen as the traditional Russian values, while the younger generation embodied by Bazarov and his friend, Arkady, adopt a philosophical non-conformity which challenges everything for the sake of challenging it.  The problem with nihilism (of which there are many) is that it has no ideal.  It believes in nothing and therefore strives for nothing but the destruction of all, including itself.  As a philosophy, nihilism is unsustainable, and it is in the moments in which Bazarov’s actions appear to defy his beliefs (his love of Anna Sergeevna, the flirtation with Fenichka, or his aiding of Pavel Petrovich after their duel), that he becomes a truly human figure.

I have spoken much of the philosophy, but little of the actual novel.  Turgenev understands ideas (even bad ones), and even more so he understands human behavior, these are the novel’s strengths.  There is a great believability and a psychological insight seemingly distinctive to Russian writers into the behavior these characters.  His prose, however, comes across as being rather stiff and even forced at times, flaws which while bothersome, I am willing to attribute as much to the translation (I read the Oxford World’s Classic version translated by Richard Freeborn) as to the author.  Sadly, though, I cannot help but feel that Turgenev was hopelessly outclassed by his contemporaries.  He has not the poetry of Pushkin, the humor of Gogol, the depth of Dostoevsky, the imaginative scope of Tolstoy, or the lyricism of Chekhov.  To be fair, though, he does have one advantage which few of the others have and that is brevity.  At just over 200 pages, Fathers and Sons reads like a novella in comparison to some of the more monumental works by Gogol, Dostoevsky, or in particular Tolstoy.  This is why I advocate it as introductory course to Russian literature, though not necessarily as one of its high points.

A question I kept asking myself as I was reading was: how did Turgenev feel about his characters?  Was he advocating the philosophy of Bazarov, or merely as a novelist attempting to honestly create a character out of the stuff of humanity: ideas, philosophy, behavior, inconsistencies?  And while I cannot be sure (it probably doesn’t matter anyway), I am led to one of the most beautiful passages in the entire book, for which I will provide no context:

“Can their prayers and their tears be fruitless?  Can love, sacred, devoted love, not be all-powerful?  Oh, no!  No matter how passionate, sinning, rebellious is the heart hidden in the grave, the flowers growing on it look at us serenely with their innocent faces; they speak to us not only of that eternal peace, of the great peace of ‘impassive’ nature; they speak to us also of eternal reconciliation and a life everlasting…”

Amen.

 

Concerning Beauty and The Night of the Iguana

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It may be a futile task for anyone to attempt a purely objective analysis of a work of art.  I say that not because I adhere to the ridiculous maxim that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or because I believe that beauty is an inherently subjective matter; in fact, I hold both of these statements to be false.  I believe there is such a thing as objective beauty–a rose, a sunset, and a pietà are beautiful regardless of one’s capacity to appreciate them.  However, while I do believe in objective beauty, I believe one’s response to that beauty can only ever be subjective.  The French writer Stendhal responded rightly when upon viewing Michelangelo’s sculpture of David in Florence in the 19th century, he fainted at the sight of its magnificence and as a result had an entire syndrome named after him.  I have never been to Florence and thus have never seen the David in person, however, I suspect that I would not faint in its presence, though the problem is mine and not Michelangelo’s (nor David’s).  I have seen hundreds of photographs of the statue, and while I fully accept that to experience it in person would be a thousand times more sublime than to see only a photographic reproduction, that I have seen so many images of it–even inadequate images of it–I have doubtless been numbed to its full aesthetic impact.  Fortunately for Stendhal, he had not been numbed by photographs and coffee table art books, and was thus able to properly gauge its true beauty.

I say all of this to point out that for me to attempt to objectively discuss a work like Tennessee Williams’ Night of the Iguana would be an exercise in futility, because it is a work that I hold dear, not only because I respond emotionally to it, but because in some ways I feel as though I might have written it; nay, I almost feel as if I did write it.  I say this not out of vanity (indeed I’m quite certain that I’ve never in my best work come close to equaling the poetry of this play), but because like Stendhal seeing the David, I wept upon reading the play for the first time several years ago, and might just as well have fainted.

Last night, my girlfriend and I went into Houston see Theatre Southwest’s revival of what many critics consider to be the last of Williams’ major plays.  Personally, I disagree with that analysis.  I find it hard to discount later works such as Small Craft Warnings, or even experiments such as In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel or Vieux Carré as minor works, though Iguana was undeniably the last of his major Broadway successes.  Regardless of one’s views on late-career Tennessee Williams, I find The Night of the Iguana to be not only Williams’ greatest work, but one of the two or three greatest works ever written for the American stage–in close company with Eugene O’Neill’s towering, The Iceman Cometh and Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

The production itself was adequate, though far from anything like Broadway standards.  The facilities were intimate, the set was well designed, and the performances were satisfactory, with a couple of them being quite good.  But those elements only really matter to an extent.  I suspect it would take a poor production indeed to fully extinguish the lyricism of Williams’ prose.

For decades, audiences and critics seem to get lost in his characters various sexual tropes–in this case the Reverend T. Lawrence Shannon, a disgraced Episcopal minister turned tour guide with an eye for sixteen year old girls, not to mention the recently widowed Maxine Faulk, owner of a dilapidated hotel in the rainforest on the Mexican coast, who amuses herself with a couple of Mexican cabana boys, and Hannah Jelkes, the virginal New England spinster whose story of the two “love encounters” in her life provides the play with one of its most moving sequences.  Yet as much as sexual confusion is a recurring theme throughout Williams’ work, to say that the play is about sexual confusion is to mistake the forest for the trees.  The story is no more about sexual disfunction than it is about an iguana, though like the titular iguana–captured and tied up by the cabana boys to be later fattened and eaten–sexual disfunction becomes a convenient central metaphor (the iguana, like Shannon, is literally at the end of his rope).  Williams’ real concern here is the spiritual and emotional battles which we all fight, and the genuine healing power of human sympathy and kindness.

The Rev. Shannon has long since been locked out of his church for “fornication and heresy”, two vices which he practices with relish as much outside the church as in, and has turned to leading tour groups to see the wonders of God’s world with a minister of God.  His latest tour is a group from a Baptist women’s college in Texas, but prior to the plays opening, the good reverend has either seduced or been seduced by (depending on who you ask) the youngest member of the group and having been found out, takes a detour to the remote, coastal hotel owned by Maxine and her recently deceased husband.  His plan, such that it is, is to hold up until he can first suffer a nervous breakdown and regain his emotional sanity, and then second, dissuade the group from either a) filing charges against him of statutory rape, or b) calling the tour company to get him fired.  Enter Hannah Jelkes and her grandfather, Nonno, who at age 97 is the “worlds oldest living and practicing poet”, hoping to finally complete the poem he has been working on for the last twenty years.

If the play had ended after the second act I’m convinced it would still be a major work of American theater, but it’s the third act which elevates it to a level with few peers.  Here Williams unleashes his entire arsenal of emotional turmoil, compassionate humanism, and poetic reverie.  What stands out is not the more lurid aspects of the characters lives, but the compassion with which Williams views them and his utter lack of condescension in dealing with human weaknesses and flaws.  He casts a caring eye, neither condemning nor condoning his characters foibles, but rather suggesting that through kindness and understanding lies the hope to heal past traumas and induce emotional and spiritual growth.

Though in part kicked out his church for heresy, the Rev. Shannon’s vision of God as a tropical thunderstorm rather than the “senile delinquent” which he had been preaching, brings him closer to orthodoxy than I suspect even he intended.  His desire to preach the “gospel of God as Lightning and Thunder”, while certainly a personal and mystical vision, becomes unintentionally closer to the depiction of God in the Book of Job as arriving in a whirlwind.  But God operates through a variety of means, including the natural world and a kindly spoken word.  Both things are beautiful, and I would argue objectively so, because they both point to an Ultimate Beauty.  To Job, God appeared as a whirlwind, but lest we forget that to Elijah he appeared as a still, small voice.  So what then are we left with?

“How calmly does the orange branch
Observe the sky begin to blanch
Without a cry, without a prayer,
With no betrayal of despair.

“Sometime while night obscures the tree
The zenith of its life will be
Gone past forever, and from thence
A second history will commence.

“A chronicle no longer gold,
A bargaining with mist and mould,
And finally the broken stem
The plummeting to earth; and then

“An intercourse not well designed
For beings of a golden kind
Whose native green must arch above
The earth’s obscene, corrupting love.

“And still the ripe fruit from the branch
Observe the sky begin to blanch
Without a cry, without a prayer,
With no betrayal of despair.

“O Courage, could you not as well
Select a second place to dwell,
Not only in that golden tree
But in the frightened heart of me?”

Beautifully said, Nonno.  Most beautifully said, indeed.  Stendhal was right to faint upon seeing the David and Hannah Jelkes was right to thank her grandfather for composing such a lovely poem, so it seems only right for me to thank Tennessee Williams for writing such a lovely play and then cry after reading it one more time.

Wise Blood, or, the strange marriage of John Huston and Flannery O’Connor

wisebloodPeriodically at my church St. James the Apostle Episcopal Church, I host an evening in which I show a film and then lead a discussion afterwards focusing on the finer points of film artistry and how, through the vehicle of art, we as viewers might come to know God more deeply and have a fuller understanding of our own place as human beings.  This past Sunday, I showed John Huston’s Wise Blood and in the following post will attempt to distill 45 minutes worth of discussion into a brief essay on this unique and sadly underseen film.

Paradoxically, the film of Wise Blood succeeds because it is an atheists rendering of a profoundly Catholic novel.  It is this same paradox which perhaps explains why Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew remains arguably the most moving depiction of Christ yet put to film.  Director John Huston’s adaption of the Flannery O’Connor novel is almost startlingly direct, and this is its strength.  Whereas a Catholic or even Protestant filmmaker might have been too taken by O’Connor’s near allegory, Huston is uninterested, and instead presents the story with the textural details of the physical world of small town Georgia, emphasizing character, story, and location, rather than theme.  Huston’s film succeeds because consciously or not, he recognized that O’Connor’s work exists within the physical world, and her themes exist to serve her story rather than the other way around.

Wise Blood is an unusual film by just about any standards and is perhaps destined to always be a cult favorite rather than a mainstream success.  It tells the story of an ambitious young man named Hazel Motes who returns home after being discharged from the Army and promptly begins to preach the Church of Christ Without Christ in which “the lame don’t walk, the blind don’t see, and the dead stay that way.”  Finding himself surrounded by false prophets, charlatans, conmen, and charismatic revivalists (including flashbacks of his fiery preaching grandfather played by Huston himself), Motes’ gospel is one where there ain’t no sin and there ain’t no need to be redeemed, because to Motes, “No one with a good car needs to be justified.”  Brad Dourif plays Motes with all of the zeal of O’Connor’s prose, as does the equally compelling supporting casting, including, Harry Dean Stanton, Ned Beatty, Amy Wright, and Dan Shor as a troubled young man who becomes Motes’ only disciple.

Hazel Motes fits squarely within the O’Connor tradition of “Christ-haunted” characters.  To her, the South was hardly “Christ-centered” but “is most certainly Christ-haunted” and Hazel Motes might well be the prophet of that vision.  The book describes his obsession by saying, “Later he saw Jesus move from tree to tree in the back of his mind, a wild ragged figure motioning him to turn around and come off into the dark where he might be walking on water and not know it and suddenly know it and drown.”  The imagery is simultaneously Biblical (referencing St. Peter’s brief walk on the water) and ghostly, the spirit of which is wonderfully captured in Dourif’s performance.  It is from such descriptions that I feel the figure of Christ portrayed in Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ seems more at home in the fiction of Flannery O’Connor than the work of the Gospel writers, and why that film is so successful as a film and questionable as theology.

But the Christ-haunting of Hazel Motes is not simply for dramatic value, and certainly not to promote any kind of religious hysteria, but because the story is about the action of grace on a character who is not very willing to support it.  “All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.”  Motes must be broken down in order to be rebuilt, and he must lose all that he has been clinging to so that the only hand left to hold onto to save him from those drowning waters is the hand of Christ.  Far from being hopeless and brutal as some readers/viewers have claimed over the years, both O’Connor’s novel and Huston’s film affirm that amidst a world of charlatans and competing religious hoopla, there is a genuine faith to be found; a faith that is seldom easy and often painful (anyone who advocates an easy, pain free faith is probably trying to sell you something), but very real and life-changing.  O’Connor recognized this, and while Huston may not have, he was smart enough to know a good story when he saw one.

Why I Believe In God

For my first post related neither to movies, literature, nor my own work, allow me to tackle a biggie, and that is to do my best to explain why I believe God exists.  While it may seem like questions related to God are primarily theological matters, I would argue that they also very closely relate to the nature and purpose of art.  For if God exists, then that makes a difference as to what art is and its purpose.  If He does not exist, then that too has ramifications as to the nature of art.  My own work, whether it be writing or filmmaking, is informed (consciously or not) by my understanding of God.  The same is true of my writing about movies–my view of film and what constitutes good art from bad is directly linked to my belief and views of God.  I fully believe that if there is any single root factor which informs and governs one’s view of life, one’s opinions, and one’s very manner of thought, then it must be how one views God and whether or not there is such a being.

As I continue with this preface, let make two points to begin with: first, by necessity a single blog post can in no way be comprehensive on this most profound of topics.  Entire books and volumes of books can and have been written eloquently and by others far wiser and more intelligent than myself.  Find them and read them; it can do you no harm.  Second, I am here going to try and focus merely on why I believe in God as opposed to believing in no God, rather than attempt to explain why I am a Christian rather than a member of any of the world’s other great religions.  That is a different and equally exhaustive topic which I may one day in the future attempt to distill into this blog, but not today.

Broadly speaking, there are two ways approach this issue: as a theist (one who believes in God), or as an atheist (one who believes in no God).  Theists, of course, branch out into a myriad of different religions and beliefs, whereas atheists must almost exclusively be Materialists (those who believe that the universe is of entirely material and natural origin).  A third way to approach the issue is as an Agnostic, which is simply a translation of a Greek term meaning “ignorant”, but I will not address that particular view since to hold any opinion at all means to believe a thing is knowable and by definition, agnostics believe things to be unknowable.

To begin with, I’d like to dispel a common misconception in popular culture which claims that as a worldview, atheism is open minded–a kind of mental tabula rasa in which evidence is evenly weighed without prejudice and conclusions are subsequently drawn.  Whereas with theism, it is commonly asserted, this is not possible, for to accept a particular religion, one must accept certain dogmas and creeds which hinder one’s ability to make an unbiased evaluation of the evidence.  The atheist, who accepts that there is no God, is therefore free from such dogma’s and prejudices and able to weigh the evidence more clearly.  This is plainly untrue, and an increasingly common misstatement.  When asked, atheists will often say something to the effect of, “I don’t believe in God”, when it would more correct to state, “I believe in no God.”  As I noted above, the actual definition of the word atheist is a belief in no God.  Atheism is not a denial of belief, but an affirmative belief in Nothing, or at least in no God.  This may seem like semantics, but the difference is important.  There is no such state in which one is utterly open minded and free of bias; there can be no such thing as a pure denial of belief and still remain a thinking creature, unless, I suppose, one is a plant, for so far as I know plants are supremely open minded.  Human beings, however, are not and cannot be.  To make any positive statement is to hold a belief, and to hold a belief is to be dogmatic.  The skeptic is no less biased than the believer, for he holds a definite bias in favor of skepticism.  In order to believe in no God, one must hold certain things to be true, for example, the purely material origin of the universe.  The atheist, in other words, who holds a Materialist view of reality is every bit as rigidly credal and dogmatic as the Nicene Creed of Christianity, or the Jewish Shema, or the Islamic Shahada.

Why do I believe in God?  Perhaps for the same reason that when I hear a symphony I listen for the voice of the composer and when I read a book I search for the perspective of the author.  And how much more infinitely complex is the universe than any book or symphony and how eerily beautiful it is.  A work of art is beautiful because it is orderly, but not merely in the sense of being neat and tidy, rather in the sense that the artist has arranged and ordered the elements in a way that is aesthetically pleasing; in the same way, the universe is beautiful, but not merely in the sense that it is aesthetically pleasing (though images from the Hubble telescope suggest that it most definitely is), but in the sense that it has purpose: the sustainability of life.  Without order, the conditions could not exist which are capable of supporting life and certainly not for any length of time.  The Materialist must maintain that the chaos of the Big Bang eventually ordered itself into the universe we have today–a universe capable of sustaining life.  Yet chaos does not beget order–not on it’s own, at any rate.

St. Thomas Aquinas used the analogy of the “Unmoved Mover”, and I feel it appropriate to quote his own explanation of the analogy:

“We observe that all things that move are moved by other things, the lower by the higher.  The elements are moved by heavenly bodies; and among the elements themselves, the stronger moves the weaker; and even among the heavenly bodies, the lower are set in motion by the higher.  This process cannot be traced back into infinity.  For everything that is moved by another is a sort of instrument of the first mover.  Therefore, if a first mover is lacking, all things that move will be instruments.  But if the series of movers and things moved is infinite, there can be no first mover.  In such a case, these infinitely many movers and things moved will all be instruments.  But even the unlearned perceive how ridiculous it is to suppose that instruments are moved, unless they are set in motion by some principal agent.  This would be like fancying that, when a chest or a bed is being built, the saw or the hatchet performs its functions without a carpenter.  Accordingly, there must be a first mover that is above all the rest; and this being we call God.”

Here the Materialist might point out that “principal agent” mentioned by St. Thomas which set everything in motion was the Big Bang, and the “instruments” are what is known as Natural Law, which governed the elements after the Bang released them.  To this day, the motions of the universe and the principles which bind it together are determined by Natural Law.  Yet even here, the Materialist cannot help but to fall back on a self-defeating metaphor.  In no way do I deny that there are principles which bind the universe together and that they are aptly known as Natural Law, because much as we might delight in the notion of eliminating Congress, there can be no law without a lawmaker.

Why do I believe in God? because everything from art, to ethics, to the complexity of nature points to it; because I believe in such concepts as beauty and truth; because I believe that liberty, equality, and the brotherhood of mankind are real, genuinely existing values to be strived for–concepts which have no foundation in a universe formed without purpose and utterly at odds with a humanity that takes the strictly Darwinian notion of survival of the fittest as its motto for advancement.  Why do I believe in God? because it is reasonable to do so.  To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, “I believe in God as I believe the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

These are clearly not the final words on the topic; it is one that will continue to be argued and debated until the end of time.  You must forgive me also for making some fairly broad statements; it is the restrictions of time and length that prevent me from going into more detail regarding some of my raised points, and it is the same restrictions which prevent me from even raising a hundred others that I feel might also validate my perspective.

Feel free to chime in and comment.  If I’ve been unclear, I’ll try to elucidate my statements.

 

The Lady Eve

lady eveBetween 1940 and 1944, Preston Sturges made perhaps the most remarkable string of comedies to ever flow from a single mind in the history of Hollywood.  That the seven films he made during those years are all literate, zany, witty, madcap, intelligent, and even a bit risqué makes the achievement all the more remarkable.  In the middle sits The Lady Eve, perhaps the best of the lot and one of the high points of the romantic comedy genre.  Sturges’ comedy consists not only verbal sparring (which he excels at), but wordplay, innuendo, farce, pratfalls, sight gags, and the kind of plotting that is so intricately funny it comes across as spontaneous.  In other words, he was not only one of the great comic screenwriters (a reputation which has never been in doubt), but also one of the great comic directors, a fact which has been perhaps overlooked due to the wit of his scenarios.

In The Lady Eve, cardsharp and con-woman Barbara Stanwyck sticks out her leg and Henry Fonda who plays a scientist that knows more about snakes than women (loosely veiled Freudianism?) keeps tripping over it.  He’s heir to a brewing fortune (“The ale that won for Yale”), but has spent the last year in the Amazon studying snakes and now finds himself on a ship with Stanwyck and her charmingly crooked father pretending to be an oil baron in order to fleece the naive Fonda in a few well calculated card games.  But, as often happens in such comedies, she falls for him.

Often lost amongst Sturges’ undeniable comic genius is the little reported upon moral dimension which holds the film together.  In this case, when Fonda discovers the truth about Stanwyck’s less-than-reputable occupation, he reacts with a kind of moralism common to the insulated rich and calls off their engagement.  She is enraged by his lack of understanding and forgiveness and spends the entire second half of the movie in an elaborate scheme to teach him a lesson.  Here’s where it gets tricky: in less sturdy hands, this material could easily turn bitter and spiteful, yet Sturges never allows that kind of motivation to direct her actions.  Hers is a mission of moral refinement (for him), and not one of vengeance; so the inevitable conclusion becomes immensely satisfying both dramatically and comically.

No Rest For the Weary

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In addition to my novelistic impulses, I am also a screenwriter and director with one feature film to my credit titled, The Deserted.

I just completed a new draft of a screenplay that I have been periodically working on for the last few years called, No Rest For the Weary. It is a Western (one of my personal favorite genre’s) about an aging bounty hunter on the trail of an outlaw that has evaded capture for years and has been branded “uncatchable” due to his ruthlessness and cunning.  When the two encounter each other it becomes a moral battle of wills with the outlaw fighting for his life and freedom and the bounty hunter battling for his sense of justice as well as his dignity and self respect within the community.

So if you or someone you know is a producer on the lookout for some killer material and a hotshot young director, then I might be able to point you in the right direction.

Why The Devouring Flame?

If you haven’t guessed already based on the large banner image at the top of the page, this blog is named after the title of my hopefully-soon-to-be-complete first book, The Devouring Flame.  It is a project which I have been steadily working on for over two years now and from which I just recently completed a workable draft.  Naturally it still needs some more work and I plan to do one more rewrite before attempting publication.  Nevertheless, having a full draft of my first novel is an immensely satisfying feeling and one which even a few years ago I would have never anticipated for myself.

To satisfy any lingering curiosity, the novel is about a young man named Alexander Djuric who, though intelligent and articulate, lacks inspiration and purpose in life and feels that it is not to be had on this side of the world.  In an attempt to satisfy these yearnings he decides to take a trip to Europe where he finds his way to Lisbon, Portugal–an unfamiliar town in an unfamiliar country–where he discovers a young girl on holiday with her family.  The very sight of her awakens something in him and he begins to follow and observe her from a distance.  The more he sees her the more intrigued and even obsessed he becomes, leading him steadily down a path of self-destruction.

Is your curiosity piqued?  Are you sitting on the edge of your seat dying to know what happens?  Then hopefully when the time comes I will be able to count on you to pick up a copy.  I plan also to use this blog to promote the progress from manuscript to publication and will keep you updated with any new developments.  Stay tuned!