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Posts tagged ‘american contemporary authors’

“Life at its fullest” – Marvin Minkler about “Dirty Pictures”

January 17, 2019

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“Rembrandt is quoted as saying, “Without atmosphere, painting is nothing.” Without atmosphere, neither is a great novel.

Patricia Ketola’s debut novel, Dirty Pictures, is poetic at times, sad, humorous, gripping, joyful, thrilling, and hopeful. A thoroughly captivating tale, rich in atmosphere, that is near impossible to put down.

Still recovering from the death of her mother, New York art dealer Elizabeth Martel is hired as an art advisor by a corporate billionaire—and fouler of the earth—Preston Graylander, after a meeting with him was arranged by her dear and lifelong friend Terry Volkov. The infamous Graylander has in his possession a rare Rembrandt painting that he wants Martel to have cleaned and is willing to pay, and fly her to Amsterdam, to have it done. Terry, who is partially paralyzed after a motorcycle accident, lures Martel into a plot to help him kill Graylander, and then himself, in a murder-suicide. Terry urges Martel to help, telling her that it is a way to get a little revenge on one of the people who are destroying the earth. Martel reluctantly agrees to help carry it out, by setting up Graylander to meet with Terry.

Soon after, Martel travels to Amsterdam where she is met by Hendrik Van der Saar, a former lover, and with his brother, Willem, owner of a fine arts company there. They agree to examine the painting, and Hendrik and Martel pick up where they left off years ago, beginning an intense love affair, with even more feeling and passion than before.

Their happiness is hindered by hidden family secrets that slowly come to the surface. Henrik’s son, Bobby, is half-Revata gypsy and a famous strung-out guitar virtuoso. Bobby and his sister Venessa are suspected of an incestuous relationship. Soon there are all sorts of fully developed characters populating the Rembrandt question. Is it a true painting by the master or a forgery? There is a Joan Collins look-alike, two mobsters from New Jersey tailing Martel, a blue butterfly, a policeman with his own secrets, two young free-climbers, and a loveable, but scary at times, huge Bouvier des Flanders dog named Rowley.

The author fills her canvas with floral arrangements, delectable foods, fine clothing, art, street markets, exotic locations, and music. From Ray Lamontagne to Jim Hall, Chet Baker, Paul Desmond, and Spanish flamenco classical guitarist Paco de Lucia, and the beautiful, haunting, Arunjuez Concierto. Life at its fullest and a profound love straight on, through revelations, tragedy, pain, and eventually acceptance of place.

There are moments when Patricia Ketola’s writing is like that of a wandering poet, as in this paragraph:

“We went to Venice for our honeymoon. It was in the middle of winter and most of the tourist spots were closed. We walked around in the fog, and the mist like lost travelers who had stumbled upon an ancient unknown, ruin of a city. It seemed that Venice, whose derelict charms grew ever more enticing with age, was still able to enchant. As we voyaged through her empty streets, we took on the ambiance of the city, we became as transparent as wraiths and as empty as stone. We were still vastly in love.”

Patricia Ketola is a daring new literary voice, and Dirty Pictures is the beginning of a truly significant career.”

Marvin Minkler, Modern First Editions

Listen to an excerpt from the novel:

 

Love and Death: What else is worth writing about?

February 22, 2017

BetimesBooksNow

image5Dearest Followers and Readers,

If you haven’t discovered Patricia Ketola yet, you are missing out on a truly original new voice.

If you are weary of pre-formatted fiction, you simply MUST read Dirty Pictures!

Patricia KETOLA’s flamboyant characters play a delightfully witty game where death and desire are intertwined. Rebellious, stylish and eccentric, like its author, Dirty Pictures weaves emotional depth and moments of pure farce to winning effect.

So, open your mind, read a sample below, and tell us what you think.

We are preparing an interview with Patricia. Questions to the author welcome through our Contact page!

New release: THE DEATH OF TARPONS by Les Edgerton

February 16, 2017

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The Death of Tarpons was first published in 1996 and launched Les Edgerton’s reputation not only as an outstanding narrative talent, but as one of those writers able to break your heart with one sentence. Timeless.

tarponsfront“Edgerton’s first novel shines with wisdom.” —Publishers Weekly, 1996

“Facing his own battle with cancer, Corey John returns to Freeport, Texas, where he spent the summer of 1955 amid the turmoil of his dysfunctional family. Then fourteen, he had wanted nothing more than to go fishing and to please his abusive father. Yet through the tutelage of his loving, cancer-stricken grandfather, Corey crossed over into an adulthood in which he would not mimic his father’s example. Throughout this exceptional first novel, Edgerton uses fishing as an extended metaphor for life. Like a hooked tarpon that first lurks on the bottom before leaping high out of the water, life’s lows are followed by highs, and the successful angler must learn to cope with both extremes.” —Library Journal, 1996

“Edgerton’s later novels have become Noir classics to many, and The Death of Tarpons hints at a moonless childhood that explains the author’s successful literary journeys into darkness.” Jack Getze, Spinetingler Magazine, 2017

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AVAILABLE HERE:  viewBook.at/Tarpons_Edgerton_pb

An Excerpt from Charlie P, Book 3 in Central Park West Trilogy by Richard Kalich

August 29, 2016

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Central Park West Trilogy includes three novels, The Nihilesthete, Penthouse F and Charlie P, originally published separately and collected for the first time in a single volume.  Post-modern fables, dark, shocking, perversely funny, wickedly astute, and compulsively readable, they share Kalich’s ferocious energy and unique vision. Together, they break down standard notions of plot, character and form a body of work that is distinctive and brilliant. Central Park West Trilogy encapsulates Kalich’s uncompromising examination of the state of modern life, as well as his experimentations with form and language.

Charlie P (first published 2005) dispenses with a conventional narrative altogether, as we follow the comic misadventures of a singularly unique, comic and outlandish Everyman. At age three, when his father dies, he decides to overcome mortality by becoming immortal: by not living his life, he will live forever. Akin to other great American icons such as Sinclair Lewis’s Babbit and Forrest Gump, Charlie P, while asocial and alienated, is, at the same time, at the heart of the American dream.

“I would rather that the familiar be embraced and the novel resonate beyond itself and intone the spheres of Plato and Beckett. Charlie P resonates.”  Review of Contemporary Fiction


“Immortality

Once and for all, at age three, when Charlie P’s father died after having given him the most special birthday present of his young life, Lionel Electric Trains, Charlie P decided to live forever rather than suffer the indignity of mortality. Under no circumstances would he allow death to interfere with his daily regimen from this time on.

Though still a babe in his mother’s arms, certainly not to be misconstrued a late bloomer, Charlie P had already given the matter much thought; in fact, thought of nothing else. His father’s premature death presaged even more ominous events to come. Living forever, immortality, was indeed the only sure defense against this constant gnawing fear of the worst.

Given the nature of child consciousness, the global, diffuse, undifferentiated way it cognizes the world, its lack of specificity and discernment, it didn’t take Charlie P long to transfer the dread of his father’s loss on to his most prized possession, the electric trains, and especially the little train-master responsible for routing the train’s safe passage.

Charlie P focused all his life’s blood and energy on that little man. More than anything, he wanted the trainmaster to continue doing his job uninterrupted forever. Easier said than done: Immortality. There are less difficult things to accomplish in this world. Charlie P’s main challenge was to keep the trainmaster out of harm’s way. More specifically, to keep the little man sitting safely and securely at his table in the stationmaster’s house, ever on the ready to be called to duty. What would happen if the little man took ill? Succumbed to his father’s fate? What would happen if the battery that energized the light bulb on top of the house’s door whenever the trains approached, signaling the trainmaster to stand and leave his shelter and go about performing his duties, failed to light? Charlie P lived with the chronic fear that just this eventuality would happen. That one day the battery would die.

But how to prevent such a catastrophe? That was the question: Should he obtain an additional set of electric trains? Seek out an as yet unbeknownst elixir of life? Place the little man on a health food diet with vitamin supplements? Discover the secrets of the aging process? Or should he himself control the trains’ speeds, alter their paths, negotiate new routes, take other means of transportation—no, boats, planes, automobiles were subject to the same laws of chance and risk, gravity and motion, as trains; those unfortunates taking them could sink, crash and burn. And even though mourned for a short while after their demise, ultimately, like his father, they would soon be forgotten as the years passed by. No. Charlie P’s answer was not to play the game. By not using up the battery, the trainmaster could go on sitting safely in his house—be at Charlie P’s beck and call forever. By denying himself pleasure now, by abrogating what he most looked forward to while playing with his trains, by not having the little man do his duty, perform his chores, even though it was his favorite moment in all the world, the precursor, causal link and catalyst to his trains riding through peaks and valleys, across bridges and over hills, high on steppes and low beneath mountains, during which, needless to say, everything around them was fraught with danger, subject to the aleatory whims of chance, when the battery sooner or later would run out, when, like his father, the trainmaster sooner or later would succumb to his fate—No. Pleasure and joy, fun and games, intoxication and bliss, were a small price to pay for immortality.

And so Charlie P played the game by not playing it. Bestowed eternal everlasting life on the trainmaster.

Once and for all, at age three, Charlie P decided that by not playing the game, by not living his life, unlike his father, like the trainmaster, he could, he would, live forever.”


The Central Park West Trilogy is part of Amazon.co.uk‘s August promotions and will be available to buy for £0.99 until the start of September. 

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