Posts tagged ‘David Hogan’
November 27, 2017
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List of Titles
- The Painter’s Women
- Permanent Fatal Error
- The Red-Handed League
- The Death of Tarpons
- La Frontera
- The Last Island
- Central Park West Trilogy
- Dirty Pictures
- Silk for the Feed Dogs
- The Insider’s Guide to Betrayal
- Borderland Noir
- The Angel of the Streetlamps
- Killarney Blues
- The Starved Lover Sings
- Reach the Shining River
- In Love with Paris
- One True Sentence
- Forever’s Just Pretend
- Toros & Torsos
- The Great Pretender
- Roll the Credits
- The Running Kind
- Head Games
- Print the Legend
- Death in the Face
- Three Chords & the Truth
June 23, 2015
Colin O’Sullivan: The Last Island covers important issues like “environmentalism, animal rights, and the costs of capitalism”. What made you want to write about these issues?
David Hogan: I believe that these are among the paramount issues of our time, and that our responses to them will shape the future. So it would’ve been hard for me not to write about them. In The Last Island the main characters are exiles and in the process of re-invention and redemption. As they struggle to re-make themselves, they are forced to ask certain questions such as: What obligation do we owe our planet and the creatures upon it? What is the nature of desire and possession? What level of cooperation or competition is appropriate? They may not find all the answers, but they are asking the questions. I believe that society too needs to undergo a process of re-invention and redemption, as many of the current answers to these questions become increasingly untenable. We don’t have the answers yet, but, like the characters in The Last Island, we need to continue to ask the questions.
O’S: What do you hope readers will take away from The Last Island?
D.H.: First off, I hope they will find the book transporting and engrossing. And I hope that they will feel that they’ve met some intriguing and thoughtful characters, who offer unconventional ways of thinking about modern life. There are many issues at play for which the novel provides no definitive answers. It does ask a good number of questions, however. In those questions, I hope that some readers might see possibilities.
O’S: Who do you picture as the ideal reader of your work?
D.H.: In Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer, Binx Bolling is on a search, which is described as “what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life.” Binx resists naming the object of his search; it may be God or a greater purpose or something else entirely. It’s a quixotic endeavour with an unclear goal. But what is most important, he believes, is to be aware of the possibility of the search, even if one is unable or unwilling to undertake it. My ideal reader is probably no different than the ideal reader of many other writers. It’s someone who, like Binx, is aware of the possibility of such a search and may read novels for that reason, among others.
O’S: Who is your biggest literary influence? Which writer, living or dead, would you most like to meet?
D.H.: I’ve a whole stable of writers that I keep returning to: Dostoyevsky, Joyce, Beckett, Nikos Kazantzakis, C.P. Cavafy, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ralph Ellison as well as Walker Percy, Frederick Exley, and Jennifer Egan. I read the work of playwrights Tom Stoppard, Martin McDonough, and Rebecca Gilman. I’m very much into the American poet Wendell Berry at the moment. I think his Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front speaks to what ails us.
As to meeting a writer, how about this? I’d like to have been in one of those bars in Paris with Joyce and Hemingway. We’d drink, talk books and then, if Joyce got into a fight, I’d have the pleasure of watching Hemingway step in for him. “Deal with him, Hemingway,” I understand Joyce used to say. It’s the greatest tag-team in the history of literature… or is it boxing?
O’S: What are you currently reading?
D.H.: Skippy Dies by Paul Murray, and I’m wondering why it took me so long to get to it. I’m about half-way through and, so far, it’s thoughtful, moving and very funny.
O’S: Do you listen to music when you write?
D.H.: I like to have something quiet and familiar playing in the background, especially in the first draft stage. If The Last Island has a soundtrack, it’s some of the older CDs of the Pat Metheny Group such as First Circle and Still Life (Talking). When I was struggling with one of the scenes in the Aegean Sea in The Last Island, I can remember listening to the glides and builds of First Circle and thinking ‘something like that.’
O’S: Do you have any words of inspiration on your writing desk?
D.H.: No, none, though I probably should. I do have a memo posted on my desk that reads: no ‘and then’ scenes. It’s to remind me to structure events by direct cause and effect, as opposed to episodically. Useful, I suppose, but far from inspirational.
O’S: Do you read the reviews you get?
D.H.: I probably shouldn’t – they say you shouldn’t — but I do. If someone takes the time to read my novel (or see one of my plays) and write about it, I’m interested in what they have to say.
O’S: You are involved in different kinds of writing, novels, screenwriting, etc. Which comes easiest to you? Which is most difficult?
D.H.: Playwriting seems to come easiest to me, though I’m not sure why. It might have something to do with the limitations of the stage, which demands a mere handful of characters and a single setting or two. It’s dialogue-based, and you can count on the actors, if they’re good, to bring out more than what’s on the page. There’s a tradeoff, of course, because what’s on the stage can be something entirely different from what was imagined, for better or worse. Novels are the most difficult for me, but the satisfaction is great, perhaps for that reason.
O’S: Being an Irishman I’m very pleased you wrote about At Swim Two Birds for your novel recommendation. Is there any other Irish novel or writer that interests you?
D.H.: Many of them. To my mind, the lyrical wordplay of Irish-English is unrivalled. I read anything by Colum McCann, Anne Enright and Kevin Barry. I think I’ll be adding Paul Murray to that list. I’m also a big fan of Irish crime fiction, especially when Tana French, Ken Bruen, Declan Burke, and Brian McGilloway (to name just a few) are doing the writing.
O’S: What does David Hogan do to relax?
D.H.: Less than I used to. Dinner, concerts, the occasional play. The Pacific Ocean lies only a few miles away, and I try to paddle out once or twice a week. My co-surfers call me Big Wave Dave, which, I assure you, is unreservedly ironic.
June 6, 2015
Excerpt from David Hogan inspiring novel The Last Island
“You’ll be the first person to see this,” she whispered.
She grabbed the red towel from the steps and threw it in the water, then pushed me in after it. She began to call Yukon from the steps, whistling and slapping. Shortly after, there was the signature ripping sound at the edge of the cove, and Yukon arrived. We jumped in together. Kerryn put the red towel in Yukon’s mouth and held on to one end. I grabbed the other end so we were on opposite sides of the dolphin as she pulled away.
I felt the immense propulsion generated by Yukon’s fluke with each thrust. It seemed as if Yukon was in a hurry; we gained speed rapidly. My hands strained to maintain a grip on the red towel while the water tugged fiercely at my shoulders and legs. In an instant, the cove was gone, and we were in the open sea. I glanced at Kerryn. She had her head cocked up and forward, her eyes squinted in determination.
I closed my eyes and ducked my head under the surface. The whoosh of the water was gone, transformed into a sort of muted hum. Fighting the pull of the water, I snapped my head back above the surface. I tried to gauge our speed, but there was nothing to measure it against. We were a rocket in space, tearing from one void to another, only the salt shooting up my nose and down my throat made me aware of the distance being covered.
We must have turned at some time because I could now see the island over my right shoulder. Again, Kerryn and I were helpless and naked and exposed and entirely in Yukon’s element. Yukon could take us anywhere; she could pull us under or strand us or crash us into a rock. But my momentary fear was of no consequence; like a child leaping into the open arms of his father, the apprehension and delight sprang from the same source, one was impossible without the other. Yukon was pulling us into the night, and we could only abandon ourselves to her will.
Whether we made another turn or not, I wasn’t sure, but soon we were heading back into the island. It was a part of the island I had not seen before. There were sheer falling cliffs of white rock, descending into the sea. The sea had cut thousands of large and small holes into the rocks, forming mysterious hollows and dugouts.
We slowed and penetrated an opening in one of the cliffs, beneath a jagged arc of sea-bitten rocks, no more than seven feet across. We entered what appeared to be a giant inverted cone. There was a small beach of white sand about twenty feet wide ahead of us. And above white rocks shot toward the sky, closing into smaller concentric circles as they advanced. There was the tiny opening where we had entered and an opening at the top – that was all.
Kerryn let go of the towel and swam to the shore. I followed her. Yukon was last and slid herself onto the sand, dropping the towel from her mouth and keeping half her body in the water. The moon like a bottle cap hung just above the top opening. The light beamed in, gentle and sweet, funneled down by the rock. On the sides of this funneling rock, tiny prisms of crystal angled the vertical white moonlight into a horizontal tangle of red, blue and yellow colors, a thin rainbow streaking across the moon. The moon itself seemed so close and so small, that I felt I could climb through the tangle of colors across the sky and nudge it.
Kerryn sat with her feet in the water, and Yukon flopped over and rested her nose in Kerryn’s lap. Kerryn threw her head back and smiled.
“The sanctuary,” Kerryn said, her voice echoing up into the funnel.
I stared at her, and the way the light from above caught the white rim of Kerryn’s deep eyes reminded me of the eclipse. Her brown forehead glistened with sea and sweat, and she sat with her mouth, pink and moist, partly open. On the sand behind me was a half-full bottle of water and a small statue, no bigger than a foot, a burnt gray and white female figurine with a long nose and a rounded cut-off head. To my eye, the ancient statue was without flaws or cracks, as if it existed in a vacuum.
“Cycladic age, I think,” she said. “Could be five thousand years old.”
“How’d she get here?”
I’d heard there were thousands of sculptures dotting the Aegean floor but few, I was sure, as old or in as good a shape as this one, which could be the prize piece in any museum.
“I don’t know. It was here when I first came,” she said. “Yukon found this place. One night, after we’d been riding further and further out, she brought me here. This was just before the others were leaving, and that’s when I knew I had to stay. I mean, I guess, we had a special connection before that. We’d been riding alone at night. But when she brought me here, I knew, just knew that I had to stay.”
I looked at Yukon’s kind face, the sleek rounded head, the large eyes, the fixed smile, resting in the lap of Kerryn. Yukon shot a sly glance in my direction as if to affirm what Kerryn was saying. I laughed, moved next to Kerryn and petted the side of Yukon’s body. Yukon clicked with glee and I was reminded of the forts I used to build as a kid, cardboard and pillows constructed to keep the real world out and the imaginary one in. The fact that we were naked, like children, and with an animal, like children, was as if I had somehow re-claimed a last slice of innocence.
And here it was. In the present. And it was real.
Yukon lying contentedly right next to Kerryn was real, and the sea was real, and the canopy of rainbow lights was real and Kerryn, her golden skin glowing in the flue of moonlight, was real.
April 9, 2015
Why do I write?
I write because I am a prisoner.
I write because there exists, beyond the walls of my preconceptions and just outside the barriers of my inventiveness, another story.
It’s not wholly personal or cultural or factual. It’s not religious or utopian. Nor is it political. It’s all of these things, or some, or none of them. It’s unknown, untold; it’s novel.
I write to discover that new story – the one that will set me free.
David Hogan is the author of The Last Island
March 24, 2015
February 16, 2015
When I was 17 years old, I dove into a swimming pool and broke my neck.
Until that moment, I’d been relentlessly active, my days taxed with dread of missing something somewhere. I was on the student council and participated in a wide variety of school clubs. I always secured a part in the school play and rode a unicycle in talent shows. I ran cross-country in the fall, track in the spring and was co-captain of the basketball team in between. I was an honor student who worked full-time in the summer and caddied most weekends in the spring and early fall, except on certain Sundays when I served as an altar boy. I’d never had a drink or a smoke, and I rarely swore. Yet that pleasant summer day, for reasons still unclear to me, I plunged into a six-foot deep above-ground pool and slammed the top of…
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February 12, 2015
“A shooting star zipped across the sky. I watched it streak behind the mountain on the other side of the island as I thought about the woman against the opposite side of the concrete wall, so very different from me – or anyone. She was a genuine being, pure in spirit and without pretense, willfully removed from possessions, greed, artificiality, and guided, not by tradition like the fishermen, nor by desire or competitiveness as I’d been, but by her imaginings and passions and, to use her word, interpretations. Either because of or in spite of her past, she’d become a culture unto herself, far removed from anyone or anything I’d ever known and, for that, there was something uncorrupted and beautiful within her – unlike myself, the waste of a man beside her, who’d been given much and only wanted more, and who’d traded love and purpose for the grotesque satisfactions of a smirking man.
I turned around, reached for her dirty hand through the bars, and kissed it; and nothing in mind and memory seemed more honest, more true than this single kiss.”
— Excerpt from THE LAST ISLAND by David Hogan
Available here: http://viewbook.at/thelastisland
February 8, 2015
February 6, 2015
“A full white moon glistened above and lit my way along the dusty road back to the cove. The walk was pleasant, and
I took it leisurely, thoughtfully, kicking up rocks and staring at the sky, until I turned off the road into the unpaved
path that led to the cove. Because of the trees, the path was darker than the road, and I kept my eyes on the light coming from within the tree-tunnel just ahead. When I got there, I cleared the branches away with my hand. Just before I broke through the opening, I heard a chopped laugh and a big splash. Then there was laughter again. I stopped and stood in the loose dirt of the tunnel. Still in the dark myself, I was able to see ahead where the moon lit up the cove like a spotlight.
There, a woman traveled through the sea at incredible speed – but without kicking or moving her arms. In fact,
there was no motion at all and no sound or evidence of a motor or propeller or mechanical device – only a slight
ripping sound. The woman’s head, framed in shadows, was thrust forward and strands of shoulder length hair
flew behind her as she moved through the sea like the cap of a small wave. As she approached, only her head and
shoulders were visible; the rest of her body was beneath the surface but somehow suspended, as if she were surfing on her chest. She stopped at the ladder and sank softly into the water. Grabbing onto the second rung, she shook her
head violently like a dog, spraying water everywhere. She laughed, and the ripping sound stopped as the wake behind
her silently formed a widening V.
Thin, with long wiry muscles, she climbed the stairs looking at the sea behind her. Her smallish breasts bounced
slightly and her stomach flattened and tightened as she rose.
Then she stood naked on the dock and seemed, above all, triumphant, like a predator reigning over the cove.
Another sound began, different from the one before; it was a type of etching noise but with a high pitch. The woman
turned to face the sound, her back to me now. I watched a single drop of water wind down her back, creating a glazed
stream that disappeared into the crease of her loins. Taking two large steps, she hurled herself up into the moonlight, gently spreading her arms and legs, her reflection gliding over the mirror of the sea. Landing in the water, she went down and then emerged, flying once again.
She sped away from me, the back of her head getting smaller and darker. She went to the edge of the cove, to the
start of the open sea, and then began a slow circle back, almost levitating on the water, and rocking ever so slightly. When the circle was completed, she came to rest near the ladder. A sigh escaped her lips as she rolled onto her back. And there she floated, nose pointing at the stars, tiny ripples lilting over her stomach…
I don’t know how long I stayed in the tunnel and watched the woman floating. Eventually, she climbed the stairs and
dried herself with the red towel. When she finished, she spoke to the water and, exposed and proud, walked back to
Then the cove was deserted, silent and calm. And now the bright, limpid moon dangled far away, over another portion of the Aegean Sea.”
— from The Last Island by David Hogan
Get it here: http://viewbook.at/thelastisland
December 17, 2014
Christmas is not always magic but good books always are.
Whether you love or hate Christmas, you might enjoy a good story.
Our collection GIFTS: NINE BITTERSWEET CHRISTMAS STORIES is free on Amazon this week: getBook.at/FREE_GIFTS
December 11, 2014
A limited print edition of GIFTS is now also available here: http://www.bookdepository.com/Gifts-Betimes-Books/9780992967444
Free delivery worldwide!
November 27, 2014
From “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White” by David Hogan:
“It’s because of this spark that Mary called her brother, Brendan, back to Boston just before Christmas when he’d have preferred to be with his own family. It’s because of this spark that Brendan is now gathering leaves on this grey and bitter December morning. Today will be their final gift as children, a Christmas gift of sorts, and there will be the leaves and an unknown woman and water and a window.”
Read or download GIFTS for free here
November 27, 2014
October 16, 2014
“I don’t understand these people trying to help animals when there’s so much human suffering in the world. Shouldn’t they be helping humans instead?”
I was asked this question at dinner the other day. One of the characters in my novel, The Last Island, is an animal rights activist. The questioner thought that her passion, like that of many other animal activists, was misplaced. I answered the question as best I could at the time, but after some thought I realized that my response was inadequate. I’ve since come to a new conclusion.
Simply put, the advocacy of animal rights is a matter of compassion. Compassion is a practice, not a resource. It’s not limited and can’t be depleted. Like any other practice — meditation, prayer, kindness, love – it’s something within which one can grow and improve. Given that, compassion for animals does not displace or re-direct compassion…
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September 8, 2014
About THE LAST ISLAND in a Greek American newspaper The Greek Star:
Novel Explores Themes of Redemption, Escape, Love, Our Flawed Nature
Playwright David Hogan offers an intriguing novel, “The Last Island,” based on a fictional Greek island in the Sporades. The Bostonian who lived in Athens for many years and has spent much time on the island of Skopelos, examines the human condition, our flawed nature, and more.
There, he witnessed the island change from a traditional fishing society into a modern, tourist-based economy.
“I wanted to capture something of that transition, what was lost, what was gained and the effect it had on the people, the animals, the island itself.”
“During that time, I was alternately mystified, amused, excited, frustrated, and delighted, as I would have been anywhere else, but in Greece, I think, those emotions were heightened. I can remember moments when I was swimming in the Aegean at sunset or standing on a mountaintop at dawn where the history and urgency and majesty of the place would course through me. At times, I can still feel it.”
Hogan’s protagonist – unnamed throughout the story – is any of us, an everyman struggling with regrets, searching for meaning, asking himself, ‘now what?’
“He’s as flawed as any of us. Perhaps the one thing that sets him apart is the level of his self-awareness when he recognizes who he is and what he’s capable of. This understanding comes to him abruptly and confrontationally. Most of us will never experience such a defining moment, but that’s one of many reasons to read novels.”
The protagonist flees his everyday life as a Boston fireman and heads to a Greek island. His grandmother was Greek, and he learned some of the language as a child. He seeks refuge there, where no one knows him, no one knows he can understand some language; he’s just another person. It’s the perfect place to get lost – to lose his former self and begin anew. But redemption is not so easy.
He finds work at a taverna. Immersed in island culture, he meets a mysterious stranger, named Kerryn, who teaches him much about life, getting back to basics, and also about protecting the environment.
Kerryn, like Hogan, is an environmentalist. She’s shedding all her possessions in an attempt to get back to a simple, more natural life, where man and nature live in complete harmony.
“She hasn’t found an answer yet, hasn’t quite found a new way of being, but she’s searching. I’d like to believe we all are.”
She befriends a dolphin, and risks her life to make sure the waters remain wildlife-friendly. Their growing friendship pulls him into her quest to save the island from losing its old ways, and ultimately, helping the dolphins.
Two unlikely beings, shedding their own pasts teach each other about life, love, and human nature. One has previously crossed ethical lines, while another does it currently. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? What if the end justifies the means? Is man more important than nature? Are the new ways better than the old? Have we made life too complicated, and if yes, can we return to simpler ways and times? Do we know what we are really capable of? Hogan’s adept storytelling makes us ponder our spiritual essence, and to reflect on who we are, where we have been and where we are going – and how things so different can really be so much alike.
“The Last Island” is a contemporary fiction bestseller at Amazon UK, reached Number 1 at Amazon Australia, and was a finalist for the San Diego Book Award. Hogan has recently completed a stage play and is currently working on a new novel.
August 8, 2014
A new review of David Hogan’s beautiful novel:” The Last Island delivers smoothly an unforgettable experience you won’t get anywhere else.” Full review here: http://thereaderandthechef.blogspot.ie/2014/08/book-review-last-island-by-david-hogan.html?m=1
July 23, 2014
David Hogan’s novel THE LAST ISLAND is #1 in Literary Fiction and in Contemporary Fiction on http://www.amazon.com.au!