If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, South Africa, France, Germany, UK, USA ... your life is now richer. Yes, from today, you can buy or order Bloody Flies form all good bookshops. The only place that might find a bit more difficult is the UAE ... But never fear, even Dubai, AbuDhabi and Fujairah residents can buy it on Amazon in ebook and paperback.
Check out my new page on Books from Scotland: http://www.booksfromscotland.com/Authors/Andrew-J-Keir
Helena Frith Powell, novelist and favourite of Sunday supplements everywhere, has written a review of my new novel, Bloody Flies.
I've created a web page for the purpose of hosting the review. I know this is not how things are normally done, but Bloody Flies is not a normal book.
Click on the link to read the review: http://helenafrithpowellonbloodyflies.weebly.com/
I've been informed through an intermediary that the National Media Council will not process Bloody Flies at this time. I was told that their representative enjoyed the book but he would not be completing the authorization process. He emphasised that the UAE doesn't ban books.
This non-ban means that I'm unable to do publicised public signings in the UAE and that I've had to withdraw the novel from souq.com. On the other hand Bloody Flies is still available for UAE residents (And everyone else) to buy online, from Amazon, Waterstones, Kobo, itunes, Barnes & Noble, The Mighty Ape etc.
Bloody Flies is causing a stir. Tell your friends.
A couple of months back I was asked by The National to appear in their weekend series, Desert Island Books. I, of course, jumped at the opportunity to feature alongside the likes of David Nicholls, Wilbur Smith and Sebastian Faulkes. Over the next few weeks I talked with the journalists involved and took part in a photo shoot. At las the article was ready to go.
Then, just as everything looked like it couldn't fail, disaster struck: M Magazine, the supplement the article was to appear in, was summarily closed down and my big moment was lost.
So ... moving on ... I've decided to post my six favourite reads here for you to peruse. Take a look and let me know what you think. Why not post your own choices once you've checked out mine?
The Life of Pi – Yann Martel
An Indian boy called Pi spends two hundred and twenty seven days on a raft with a Bengal Tiger. Surely, there’s no better tale of pragmatic and spiritual survival.
Just what the lonesome island dweller needs. Even now I wonder if the Meercats were real.
Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
I love hearing voices written in the first person and McCourt does a splendid job of this in his gritty memoir. The protagonist’s voice grows and matures from that of a tiny child to a teenager on the cusp of adulthood, in perfect parallel with the development of Frankie’s character.
While I was writing Bloody Flies one of my goals was to create voices as sharp as McCourt’s. If the result is judged to be half as good as his work I’ll be a happy man.
The Inspector Rebus Series – Ian Rankin
Detective John Rebus is my favourite fictional character. The reason I’ve picked the whole series is because no one novel does him justice.
Rankin ages the sleuth in real-time, over more than twenty years, from something of a cerebral action hero, to a world weary grumpy old man. During that time we see him drive his wife and daughter away, and his relationships with partner Siobhan and nemesis Big Ger develop. Rebus is like one of the family and I wish Ian Rankin would bring him back – just one more time.
Siddartha – Hermann Hesse
Sometimes life on a desert island can feel a little bleak (Especially after reading Angela’s Ashes). So when the blues set in and I need a spiritual lift this is the book I’ll reach for. Written in simple prose, the novel follows the life of the Brahmin Siddartha on his quest for enlightenment.
After reading this, you can’t help but see beauty in even the darkest of places.
Doctor Zhivago – Boris Pasternak
Now and again everyone needs a good cry, and Doctor Zhivago certainly guarantees tears. Yuri Zhivago is a middle class dreamer who simply wants to live out a contented life with his wife and family. Unfortunately, he is caught up in the tumultuous Russian Revolution and circumstances don’t allow him the peace he craves. With his life thrown into chaos he begins a powerful love affair with the beautiful Lara.
Despite Yuri becoming an adulterer and a hypocrite, the reader never loses empathy for Zhivago and his doomed quest for happiness.
The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
Sparse, gritty, simple: Hemingway is the master of the clean sentence, and this novella shows Papa at his best.
The battle with the sailfish is epic and a copy of this in my island library would surely come in handy whenever I needed to catch lunch.
I've been told that if I wan't to do a book signing in the UAE, then I must get my novel Bloody Flies approved by the National Media Council.
The book is with them now, so my fingers are crossed.
Sadly, M Magazine at The National has just been closed. This is a great shame, not least for English language fiction writers in the UAE. Their short story competition was the only real outlet for new writers in English in the UAE. Helena Frith Powell and her team did a great job.
From a personal point of view it means that my first big photo shoot was in vane -- Alas, no more Desert Island Books. Ah well, let's hope something comes along to fill the gap that M Magazine has left.
Andrew J Keir
Scottish novelist and short story writer based in Abu Dhabi.