Friday, February 27, 2009

From a Nemesis Train reader

Earlier this week, I had a great conversation over lunch with a Nemesis Train reader. It is so cool that someone who is a energetic reader appreciates and is enthusiastic about the book. These are the comments he posted on his Facebook page:

Nemesis Train explores the crushing human need for intimacy amidst the disconnected lives of hungry souls in a careless city. Not your "typical" novel - more of an art piece—with maximum description and minimum dialogue. The reader is confronted with a series of snapshots from the lives of the Wanderer, the Musician, the Clerk, the Driver the Old man and the Child, while the key protagonists Jed and Clair (with the help of sage-like Jack) struggle to make sense of life and find ways to make the world somehow better.

The realisation hits us about the same time as it dawns on Jed, that it's not about the big stuff we do, or even about the gestures we make. rather we impact the world in the day to day—a smile here, a kind word there, a helping hand offered when most needed—a spontaneous kind of risk-taking that impacts on the lives of real people.

Recurring motifs of light and darkness, the movement of trains, and even and the oft-repeated refrain "the atmosphere felt like one of those afternoons where one has the vague feeling everyone else is away doing something or exciting or important and, despite the certainty that there is nothing exciting or important to do, one always feels a little uncertain and left out," keep the reader plumbing the depths for answers.

Are there answers? Read it and find out!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Responding to Nemesis Train

Receiving feedback on a book such as Nemesis Train is gratifying, even when it might be critical. Just the fact that someone took the time to read the book, take it serious and expression their reactions. I recently received a letter from a friend, who has worked as a chaplain at a drop-in centre for Vietnam Veterans in Queensland. His comments were part review, part personal letter. Here are some excerpts:

There were moments of brilliant descriptive prose—especially when visually describing some scene, ambience or mood. One was when “The driver” met the three young people in the early morning. I remember the neon light flickering twice before coming on and the claustrophobia in the law firm.

I loved the plot in a frustrated kind of way. But I loved it more at the end of the journey than the journeying itself. It’s the sort of book you’ve got to read twice to savour the twists and ironies and connections and character similarities with a knowledge of the end in mind. The way it all coalesced in the end was very clever, and reminded me in some ways of Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven. . . .

The episode with the prostitute reminded me of a young man who was idealistic enough to care, while at the same time courageous enough to step out of his cultural comfort zone and do something about it. The conversations with the old man were deep and meaningful.

Keep on writing. You’ve certainly got a talent. I’ll be looking for your next one.