August 1, 2013
Given the Choice
I am delighted to announce that my new novel, Given the Choice, will be published by independent publisher Cillian Press next month. Set in the contemporary art and music worlds, the cover features original artwork by Olivia Krimpas.
Next month, I’ll be blogging with more details about the novel, but for now here is a taster.
In this passage, French painter Jean-Claude is in New York for the opening of his show. He has come to Hoboken, and is looking out across the Hudson River at the night skyline.
“At this distance, the city seemed a fantasy creation, an enchantment conjured by a magician from the sea. Jean-Claude lit his cigarette and walked along the esplanade, noting the extraordinary crenellation of illuminated buildings, the glittering jetties that stuck out from the shore like afterthoughts. The esplanade led him past a clump of shadowy trees and round a slight bend. The city’s brilliance, he saw, derived from millions of individual lights, from the chequerboards of lit up windows that formed the facade of building after building. Most were interior lights, but there were also bands of colour: a glowing orange top floor, a tower in a tracery of red neon, a glass-front that sparkled an ethereal green-blue. Light hurled itself upwards into the sky, leaked onto the surface of the water where it settled in channels that appeared solid enough to walk on.”
In this passage, Marion, who runs an agency for artists, listens to a young Estonian pianist play an excerpt from one of the many pieces composer Olivier Messiaen wrote based on birdsong.
“Peeter placed his hands over the keys. Suddenly the piano was alive. Marion settled back in her chair and closed her eyes. She did not know what she was listening to but within moments she was transported out of her surroundings into a dense jungle of sound. The piano was no longer a music-making machine but the source of a magical power. She could hear the swooping calls of birds as they darted through treetops or skimmed and dived in a free expanse of air. The bare walls of the practice room had metamorphosed into an enchanted forest, teeming with flashes of brilliant plumage and abrupt, raucous caws. As she opened her eyes she was reminded of the monastery of San Marco in Florence, its plain white cells transfigured by Fra Angelico’s art. She thought of the ritual of Peeter’s daily practice. The long hours he spent at the keyboard required the same devotion the monks expended in prayer. When Peeter finally stopped playing she felt as if he had taken her to a world beyond herself, where she had glimpsed something extraordinary. It was a feeling she sometimes had when she looked at art.”
For more details, please check back on 1st September