Lulu in New York & Other Tales will be launched in New York at the iconic Strand Book Store on Wednesday 24th May 2017. This 86 year-old New York landmark houses 18 miles of new, used and rare books. The shop has featured in many movies including Six degrees of Separation, Julie and Julia, Remember Me, and the Woody Allen classic Hannah and her Sisters. In 2016 The New York Times called The Strand "the undisputed king of the city's independent bookstores." One of the stories in the collection is based on Max Ferguson's painting of The Strand's owner, Fred Bass. I can't wait to be there.
2017/04/My new book Lulu in New York and Other Tales (Unicorn Press, UK; University of Chicago Press, USA: July 2017) is a collaboration with the American painter Max Ferguson (www.maxferguson.com) where I've written 60 short stories to 60 of his paintings, spanning the 1980s to the present day. The eponymous story is that of Louise Brooks, the silent film actress. This week the Louise Brooks Society, based in San Francisco, picked up on pre-launch publicity for the book and wrote a nice piece on its website:
This is the sequel to Robert Power's novel In Search of the Blue Tiger, whose child hero, Oscar Flowers, has become a seagoing pilgrim after his part in the violent death of the fishmonger, whose murderous twin daughters Carp and Perch are now languishing in jail for their crime. But they are about to be sprung by Angelica, the spoilt daughter of the Tidetown mayor. Mayhem ensues as various other characters and complications come and go, culminating in the arrival of the plague. What with its coastal setting and its small community, there's a strong sense of place in this book, but it has no real-world correspondence either in setting or in time. We could be in any country, in any year. Various words and names suggest people and places from all over the world, and the story reads like a fairy tale. Realism this is not.
Kerryn Goldsworthy "Sydney Morning Herald" 9 January 2016
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/short-reviews-of-fiction-from-australia-and-overseas-20160111-gm3aq5.html#ixzz3xHpMCYtt
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My third novel "Tidetown" will be launched at 6.30pm on Thursday 5th November at Readings Bookstore, at St Kilda, Melbourne. It will be launched by Alex West, internationally renowned director and documentary film maker.
My third novel "Tidetown" (a sequel to "In Search of the Blue Tiger") will be launched in Melbourne on Thursday, 1st October (details to follow). Here's the back of the book blurb:
Nestled on a windswept coastline, life in Tidetown is seemingly quiet and assured. But after a mysterious and mystical black-skinned slave is shipwrecked on its shores time-honoured traditions are unsettled. As events unravel the unfinished business of the barbaric Fishcutter murder comes back to haunt the townsfolk as the unforgettable twins, Perch and Carp, return.
In the wider world, rumours of wars, disease and corruption endanger the livelihood and the very existence of this sleepy town. Will Mayor Bruin provide a vision for the future? Can the monks on the Island of Good Hope offer salvation in a time when faith is tested? Can Judge Omega keep evil at bay?
All the while, Oscar Flowers, free from his Tidetown childhood, is on his own adventurous quest in lands beyond the sea: a pilgrim’s progress striving for home and purpose, and in search of what it means to be a man.
In Robert Power’s masterful third novel, Mrs April, Brother Moses, Oscar and other much-loved characters that first appeared in the magical In Search of the Blue Tiger, reconnect in an unexpected and mesmerising tale of adventure and spirit.
Praise for Robert Power
‘Psychologically astute, original and whimsical.’ Felicity Plunkett, Canberra Times ‘Dark and beautiful.’ Claire Kennedy, Herald Sun ‘Rich with observation and fine writing.’ Lucy Sussex., The Age ‘An assured storyteller … taut and compelling.’ Crusader Hillis, Australian Book Review
"Mister Softee at the Apollo" (sent to New York artist Max Ferguson as a thank you for the use of his painting on the cover of my collection of short stories)
Just sent my latest manuscript "Pebbles and Shards" to my publisher (Transit Lounge). It's a memoir/travelogue/short fiction-faction that I began in 1995 (much influenced in recent years by reading short form fiction of the likes of Lydia Davies). Here's a sample:
The little boy turned. The light of the moon from the window, above where he sat, caught his expression. But the boy sat still as the bear in the trap howled in the forest. As the crows flew upwards, the stars told him, as he held the glass beads close to his mouth, suck now, they said, before it’s too late, before it’s too late.
I'm very happy that my publisher, Barry Scott at Transit Lounge, likes my new novel and will publish it in October, 2015. It's a sequel, but is deliberately self-contained, so does not rely on reader knowledge of "In Search of the Blue Tiger." It picks up the story five years on, with Oscar Flowers, the Fishcutter Twins, Mrs April and Brother Saviour engaging a host of new characters, including the Mayor of Tidetown (with his sycophantic Deputy and dreadfully spoilt daughter), a sangoma washed up on the shores from Africa, and a Harlequin-turned-monk (whose tongue was ripped as a child). There's war and plague, magic and murder, and life on the ocean waves tra-la. All I need is a title. Any ideas?
Just had a second short story ('The General and the Billiard Cue') from my 'Meatloaf in Manhattan' collection read out on national radio. When I was a kid in London we always had the wireless tuned to Radio Four (the posh channel), I loved all the programmes (science, natural history, 'The Archers'), but I especially liked the short stories. One that sticks in my mind was DH Lawrence's "The Fox." Things weren't looking too good for us at the time and we were all living in one room in a nasty bed and breakfast in Leytonstone. It was late at night and we turned on the radio and there was this magical tale unfolding. The reader had a calming, evocative voice and I remember closing my eyes and imagining that I had written it and that all these people were listening to my story. How great is it that kids can dream.
Just back from London to a nice review (that I missed) from 'The Australian':
When Robert Power is not working as a professor of social sciences specialising in harm minimisation in AIDS, he’s building a reputation as a fiction writer. His debut novel In Search of the Blue Tiger was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Prize for an unpublished manuscript and the title story of Meatloaf in Manhattan, his first short story collection, won second prize in The Age’s Short Story Prize. We get a sense of how apt the short story collection can be in imparting a sense of global society, and the sheer availability and transportability of its stories. Power’s stories are hugely diverse in their settings, which he mines for meaning with considerable facility.
A Vietnamese story, She Calls her Boy Amazing, is a strong tale of a child growing up as a beggar around the railway station and how the loss of his mother is substituted by the paternalistic affection of an older man who recognises the boy’s talents and gives him a leg-up in life.
The story of a couple that loses their only child on Ireland’s barren Aran Islands is another to benefit from its exotic setting. At one level it’s the story of the disintegration of a marriage, at another an exploration of the mysticism of place, and the idea that by changing places we can change ourselves. The Mayor’s Fear of the Penalty, set in the Indonesian province of West Papua, is another that gains from its location. It’s a classic tale of punished hubris in the context of sport, politics and populism.
Power frequently evinces an authorial interest in how life can go wrong for a character at any given moment. The span of experience in the collection challenges our moral schemas by pointing to life’s intrinsic injustices. He’s particularly alive to human foible and folly, with a clear interest in exploring characters whose moral compasses are awry. The title story is a blackly humorous tale of trivial meanness while several others such as Firenze and Snowball and Grooming deal with the way people use and abuse the internet. The latter, in particular, is a neatly twisted cautionary tale. An occasional glibness in tone is more than compensated by the imaginative diversity on show.
Ed Wright, The Australian June 21-22, 2014 [all reviews at: www.transitlounge.com.au]
Thoughts on upcoming events, new book ideas, and the agonies and ecstasies of the creative process.