Three Contemporary Novels
● Three stories set in the neighboring upstate New York cities of Albany, Schenectady, and Troy.
● Three women who share an aversion to all things feminine, especially motherhood.
● Three unexpected detours to the place where myth and reality collide.
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Livingston Press, 2006
Stuck in a loveless and childless marriage, Zach Tonner, an upper level Albany bureaucrat, hoped for merely a romantic fling, but gets more than he bargained for when he answers an intriguing personals ad:
Child of myth seeks god of desire. Abandon your past;relinquish your future; pursue only me.
Enter Luna, a boyish young woman who never smiles, who has a passion for roller coasters, and who bluntly offers herself to him, no strings attached. She leads Zach on a life-changing journey in which he learns at great cost that myth is as vital to existence as reality.
“The roller coaster serves as a metaphor for how Luna lives her life as well as for Zach’s budding relationship with her: control must be relinquished, and you have to hold on for a thrilling, scary, alarming ride.” –Magill Book Reviews
Livingston Press, 2012
If you hate her at the beginning, be warned: you may very well end up falling in love with her by the end. Edgy, cynical, and shamelessly self-centered, Janey is a 46-year-old artist with a sizable chip on her shoulder. When her husband announces on their twenty-fourth wedding anniversary that he wants a divorce, she moves into her studio, an empty warehouse in Boston’s South End, but her already disjointed life is made still more chaotic when she gets a call from her estranged sister in Schenectady. The family’s long-vacant, Depression-era hotel is to be sold, and all their parents’ possessions must be disposed of. To complicate matters further, Janey meets Bugs, an aging disc jockey on an oldies station, and ends up sharing quarters with him in the deserted hotel. Thus begin Janey’s strange “twelve labors,” a series of spiritual and emotional trials that will challenge her unshakeable conviction that she is not an ordinary mortal, but a prince.
“Janey’s Twelve Labors are nothing short of reinventing herself in her late forties. She’s got a great gallery show to prepare a piece for, but to navigate her way to that Promised Land, she must unload her literal and metaphorical baggage.” –Richard Derus, Goodreads
Livingston Press, 2008
Leslie is a paradox. Forty-three years old, never married, lonely, she is also highly intelligent, intensely sexual, and wickedly witty. At a dead end in her personal life and her job as a librarian in Troy, she takes a leave of absence to search for Martin, an old boyfriend she’d known twenty-five years ago. As teenagers they had worked together in an amusement park for one golden summer that Leslie has wrapped in myth and nostalgia for the past quarter-century. On a cross-country odyssey Leslie not only finds out more than she wanted to know about Martin, but more than she cared to admit about herself, and ultimately she must face a crucial dilemma: should she abandon her search so as to preserve her cherished memories intact, or meet the grown-up man who will likely shatter them forever?
“It is refreshing to encounter such a quirky, androgynous female heroine, a far cry from the stiletto-clad, diet-obsessed women who populate so much contemporary so-called ‘chick-lit.’ The character is smart, funny, and I love that she is having a kind of midlife crisis–something usually associated with men, but that in real life women certainly do experience–and a kind of existential alienation women in novels rarely grapple with. The writing is strong throughout, often quite witty and lively.” –Liza Featherstone
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Three Novels of the Ancient World
A Comedy, a Tragedy, and a History
Drawings by Mary Trevor Thomas
Livingston Press, 2010
Perseus is the dashing hero who saved the princess Andromeda from the sea serpent and slew Medusa, the snake-haired monster who could turn men to stone with a single glance. But few know the real story. In this contemporary take on the ancient myth, Perseus is an awkward youth who stumbles his way into a heroic adventure he never wanted. His mother Danae is a sexy, earthy single mom with a salty vocabulary and not very much patience with her exasperating son. Andromeda is an opinionated, modern young woman as unimpressed with Perseus as she is with his exploits. And the god Hermes, sent by Zeus to explain the finer points of being an epic hero, is a sardonic, wise-cracking smart-ass who loves poetry and delights in quoting Shakespeare. Comic, spirited, and unexpectedly tender, Perseus is at heart the mythic quest tale in which the hero, striving with monsters divine and human, ultimately discovers himself.
“Not every hero sets out to be a legend. “Perseus” is an original take on the tale of Perseus, serving as all a lampooning, a tribute, and a modernizing. Casting Perseus as an unwilling and unlikely individual who can’t catch a break, the journey of Perseus is one of coming of age and coming to understanding with the disappointments of life. “Perseus” is not a read to be missed.” –Midwest Book Review
Drawings by Mary Trevor Thomas
Livingston Press, 2014
“One instant she was merely another woman who had been wronged. The next she became the woman who would requite all such wrongs since the world began.”
Differing accounts of Medea’s story all agree in one significant regard: after deliberately murdering several innocent people, including her own two children, Medea never met with any punishment, human or divine. Why was no penalty ever exacted from this classic embodiment of female rage?
Set in Bronze Age Greece, the myth is told in the form of a modern novel, eliminating none of the passion and violence. Medea is the awkward, introverted daughter of a royal family, growing up in a remote backwater of the Greek world. An escape from this stifling life is offered by the arrival of the dashing and feckless Jason, for whom Medea gives up everything to follow him back to mainland Greece. There she bears him twin sons, then watches helplessly as he falls out of love with her. His announcement that she will be exiled, minus her two boys, so that he can marry the king’s daughter brings on the catastrophe.
Recommended in Bookviews by Alan Caruba, charter member of the National Book Critics Circle.
Walker & Co., 1989
“On a ship several miles from shore a woman watched the receding coastline and bade it farewell. She saw nothing pursuing her that day, only the invisible wind that filled the sails. Yet something was following. It followed her across the sea to Asia. It followed her into the great citadel of Troy. It followed her through the war. It followed her to the grave, in fact, and after she was dead it followed her shade down the centuries. It was the word she could not flee: Beautiful.”
The woman is Helen of Troy, the archetype of all female beauty and the unwilling cause of this archetype of all wars.
“It takes a certain hubris to rewrite Homer, but Matturro, a classical and Shakespearean scholar, brings a new and refreshing perspective to his retelling of the Trojan War.” — Publishers Weekly