I have the most amazing news! Next year, in May*, my new book, Dying in the First Person, will be released by Transit Lounge. I received the edits yesterday, and they confirm everything I believe about the enormous benefits of a good editor. They make the work better; they work with the text (and with me) to try to make the book the best version of itself.
The book tells the story of two brothers who, as children, play at creating their own languages and associated paracosms. As adults, they still write and translate stories in Nahum, the language of an imaginary archipelago of islands in which each island is inhabited by a solitary man. The book is about translation and death, about loss and mourning, about love and language, about rivers and rain, music and books, baking and families and forests. It is about brothers and fathers and sons. And women.
I listened to Allegri’s Miserere mei, Deus, almost constantly while I was writing it; also Saint-Saëns’s Ave Verum in D Major (in the mornings) and Elgar’s famous Cello Concerto in E Minor, Opus 85 (while editing). When the book is released [if you happen to purchase a copy, or steal or borrow one], if you listen to the Miserere while reading it, I would be eternally grateful.
Several years ago I put up a post about owls , that contained this extract from what was then a very flimsy and thin WIP:
I heard the train come up the valley. The soft, ghostly mourning cry and then the reply of an owl, close by. I slipped out of bed and went to the window, conscious that I was naked, touching the floorboards with my newborn’s milk-white feet. I parted the curtains just a little as the owl sounded again. Nearer still. And then it dropped and scudded across the clearing. It’s body heavy and slow, its wings dropping and rising like oars that must work to push aside the air. God is a bird, I thought, plowing the air of the forest. God is an owl: dark-eyed and violent, with pale feathers riffling on his breast as he hunts.