Curtains for Roy“Curtains for Ray,” I said.

“Roy,” he said. And he ought to know. He wrote the book.
Funny things happen to me.  I keep running into people who’ve written books.  I know who they are and what they’ve written but they don’t know me.  Who am I?  I wish I knew.  See ‘Steven Brown’ for details.  It’s somewhere below on this blog reel thingy.  June 15, 2014 entry.

It’s my problem.  I know things.  I know a lot of things.  I knew of this novel and had been interested in reviewing it but my pitch, as they’re called, went unanswered.  But I was still interested in the book.  I looked for it in a large bookstore near here but they didn’t have it.  I forgot about it for a while.

Then, one day, the author of this novel is standing in front of me.  “Aaron?”  I say.

“Yes,” he says.

“I recognized you.  I saw you read at the Writersfest last year.  Curtains for Ray.”

“Roy,” he said.

“Roy,” I said.  “Sorry about that.”

“That’s okay,” he said.  And so it started again.

What started again?  My desire to read this novel.  I believe it to be a slightly neglected novel.  No one writes a novel in the desire that it be slightly neglected.  No publisher, especially these days, publishes a novel desiring it to be slightly neglected.  “Curtains for Roy” was published last year by Cormorant Books.  978-1897151-74-7.

These are strange times.  They may not be stranger than any other times but they are strange in and of themselves, these times.  Completely strange.  Not only will you review a book for free, the publishers of that book will send you a copy for free so you can review it for free.  But content, as every savant knows, is not free.  So what’s going on here?  I wish I knew.

So Aaron Bushkowsky’s publisher’s publicist, a very nice person, mailed to me from mighty Toronto a fine looking copy of “Curtains for Roy” to review on my blog.  Free book.  Free review.

I’ve met somebody else who published with Cormorant.  Can’t remember her name right now.  Two people published by Cormorant but I never published with Cormorant although I tried.  Tried so darn hard.

Publishing is a dire enterprise and a dark, soulless undertaking besides.  Maybe not.  More publishing dreams have been killed by publishers than writers.  I’ll say.  Writing is brutal, nasty and very often a complete failure and failure is painful.  Writing and publishing are the evil twins of the nugatory ur-world of smashed ambition.  Hey, that’s got potential.  You could get used to this.

Anyway, the novel is very good.  I’ve read it and I recommend it.  It’s a very nice looking trade paperback novel, a high quality objet.  Impress your friends.  I wish it was my book, my other novel or either of any of my other novels.  Sure I do.  But it isn’t.  It’s Aaron’s.

There’s no money in novels and anyone calling themselves a publisher is a fool to publish in the genre of literary fiction.  Everybody knows that.  Prepare to be amazed.

Roy is a theatre director with a bad case of cancer.  He’s not going to make it.  His friend, Alex, is a playwright with a bad case of poor reviews.  They’re both pretty choked at the way things are going and decide to cut out for the Okanagan to drink some wine to solve their problems.

Good idea.  ‘If we are to be the martyred slaves of time we must drink continuously’.  Just thought I’d throw that in.  This is my space.  I can do what I want, right?  Free space courtesy of the mighty people at WordPress.  Maybe that’s it.  Everything’s about courtesy.

Buddy novel.  Road trip novel.  Wine novel.  Yes, one is reminded of the movie Sideways.  At least superficially.  Both are about going around to wineries in wine country and sampling the goods.

Some winery wants to put on a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream and it falls to Roy to direct it.  The situation is complicated by Roy’s terminal illness and further complicated by the famous, or infamous, Okanagan Mountain Fire, of fond remembrance, a real event expertly woven into the action of the novel’s second half.

In terms of plot summary that’s all you’re gonna get out of me.  If you like stories set in our own locale, well-written novels of wit and humour semi-neglected or otherwise, I’ve got something for you.  And you know, as I’ve amply demonstrated, I know what I’m talking about.

These Are Not Grapes
These Are Not Grapes

Author: Steven Brown


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