Here’s the quiet, lovely Ashokan Farewell, perfectly described by The Atlantic as haunting and mournful and hopeful and beautiful, not a folk tune, as its style and ‘feel’ suggest, but written in 1982 by Jay Ungar in the style of a Scottish lament. This arrangement by Dan Coates.
With Defiant Island coming up for reprint, like The Ragged Believers and Second Wind, the other titles of the Atlantic Trilogy, I’ve been re-reading and tweaking the manuscript, and found myself (excuse the conceit) completely ensnared all over again by the story and the characters, and, as always, overwhelmingly – and embarrassingly! – moved by the epilogue.
The re-reading also brought home to me how topical – prescient, even – the story is, and a recent kind review by writer friend Wendy Dathan (author of Swallowtail Calling: A Naturalist Dreams of Grand Manan Island, and My Dust Will Dance), makes the same point: I started reading Defiant Island for the second time at five in the morning and read until eight. And I loved it as much the second time as the first. It’s a great book, well paced, warmly sympathetic to the problems of growing old, with a deep understanding of the hardships and frustrated hopes of those of us who live in isolated island communities when our ocean resources are failing and higher government levels no longer see beyond inappropriate and inhumane urban concentration solutions. A triumph of the human spirit.
Here’s a repost of the original trailer.
With The Ragged Believers scheduled for reprint in a new edition in the next few months, and with the last few copies currently on sale (Special Price of only $10 for a Soon-to-be-Rare First Edition! – contact me), it seems a good time to re-post the trailer for this first novel of the Atlantic Trilogy (the others being Second Wind and Defiant Island).
Here’s a selection of comments from when The Ragged Believers was first published in 2003:
“… A love story which delivers a powerful and thoughtful message about the dangers of moral absolutism … A winning novel that I would like to see turned into a movie.” (Terry Seguin, CBC Radio and Television)
“… Evocative of the novels by John Steinbeck and Sinclair Lewis about the disadvantaged people of North America and their struggle to survive in a strict moralistic society based on the accumulation of wealth.” (Flora Kidd, Author)
“… Sexy historical fiction …” (Kate Wallace, ‘Here’ Magazine)
“… An entertaining and very enjoyable read.” (Anne Ingram, The Daily Gleaner, Fredericton)
And to whet your appetite further, here’s the sublime opening paragraph:
On sunny afternoons in summer the girls in their white dresses lay on the rocks by the sea, as vacuous and unglamorous as the gulls wheeling above them, as serene and languorous as the seals on the further rocks. They talked of the men they had transported the night before, and joked, not unkindly, of their clients’ foibles and confessions, their weaknesses and frantic lusts. Often I joined them, and they discussed my forlorn love for their colleague, Jenny, the prostitute who befriended me and lived with me, but denied me her love. They gossiped and drowsed the afternoons away, like sirens on the rocks, luring not sailors from the sea, but travellers from the highway across the meadow and beyond the Seashore Boarding House.
A little Floyd Kramer … Every time I play it I feel like I’m back in high school.