Book Jacket

 

rank 5911
word count 22505
date submitted 29.05.2009
date updated 03.09.2009
genres: Literary Fiction
classification: adult
incomplete

Landfalls

Doug Stevenson

Within the pages of Landfalls lies the meaning of life, a reminder of what the West once knew in ancient times but has forgotten.

 

Landfalls is the story space between two realities, the modern and the ancient.

A young English engineer arrives in Australia to work at a uranium mine. He stands alone in the vast desert country there and is fearful of the alien landscape he sees before him. He embarks on a life long quest to conquer the land and so keep him safe from his fear.

Isolde has the god love, the first of Sister Martha’s two love gifts, stolen from her. Yet the stolen love is returned to her in the birth of the miracle child Tristan. The young Aboriginal girl cannot love Tristan though and begins her wanderings in search of the second love gift, the man love. Tristan is abandoned to a violent existence but is found by an old blind medicine man. The sightless karadji takes Tristan on a journey into the desert and raises the boy up from death into life as ‘an other’. When Tristan finds Isolde again she sends him on a quest to heal their sick people in the dreaming of the desert country.

The two quests meet on a bridge with catastrophic consequences when the modern trespasses on the ancient.

 
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tags

aboriginal, celtic, meaning of life, mythology

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23 comments

 

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Benjamin Dancer wrote 1243 days ago

I'm in ch 1. Here are my notes:

Interesting 1st sentence.

There a grammatical issues with your opening sentences; I'll assume that's intentional.

It seems the style continues. I'm trying to take it in for effect and not think about grammar.

I wanted to see the prologue in verse, broken into lines. Just to see what effect that would have.

I read on and saw ch 2 is in the same style. Risky. But if you're lucky it'll be accepted--like so many others who took risks before us.

I love the imagery in this.

You have to let go of the period to read this. Retrain your eye and relax. Then the images come out, the voice. The repetition and rhythm.

I think you should record it. Listening no one will notice the periods. They'll hear your voice and appreciate it. No off hand dismissals. Check out Podiobooks.com if you're interested.

Get an audio following. then I think you have a chance of breaking through that grammar barrier

There's something really special about this. I don't want it to be dismissed.

JD Revene wrote 1300 days ago

Doug,

An unusual, fragmentary but rythmic style, that owes as much to poetry as to prose.

Magical realism, perhaps. The language is simple, but the rythmns and repitition give it beauty.

The statcatto style, I think, makes it less accessible than it might be, but it's fascinating.

Two chapters is enough to tell that you can write, but not--I confess--enough for me to fully penetrate the allegories here, notwithstanding the hints in the pitches.

Backed.

soutexmex wrote 1354 days ago

Doug: the short pitch tells instead of sells. The long pitch works. I do apologize for the lack of a proper comment but I am leaving for the weekend and it's late here. Let me know if you want a proper comment upon my return and I will read more as soon as I have a chance. For now, enjoy the BACKING. I can use your comment on my book when you get the chance. Cheers!

JC
The Obergemau Key

Burgio wrote 1354 days ago

LANDFALLS
This is an unusual story because of the lyrical style in which it is written. At points I felt as if I were reading poetry. I like the idea of two worlds crashing together; it gives the story a richness it otherwise wouldn’t have. Probably not the book for everyone, but I liked this a lot. I’m adding it to my shelf. If you have a moment, would you look at mine (Grain of Salt)? I’m in 4th place but only holding on by my teeth. Burgio

Philippa wrote 1372 days ago

Very Hiawatha rhythms, somnolent. For me too much so. I would prefer to see it written as line poetry. Having to be rather prima donna-ish these days because writing a long narrative poem which gets easily infected by other people's rhythms. So could not stay with yours as long as perhaps I should.
Sorry to take so long to reciprocate your backing of Minding the Gap. We used to get word of such but no longer and I hardly ever drop by these days. But your backing is much appreciated...specially as so few read either poetry or short stories. P

lionel25 wrote 1430 days ago

Doug, I enjoyed your prologue. This has a sweet, poetic feel. Nothing to nitpick in that section.

Backed with pleasure.

Joffrey (The Silver Spoon Effect)

Barry Wenlock wrote 1451 days ago

Hi Doug, I read this a while ago but came back and read the rest. Well done, mate.
Backed again, Barry
Little Krisna and the Bihar Boys

lcowden wrote 1475 days ago

Oh and doug one other thing why not make your pitch= to that of your writing style? That is what makes your book unique. Your pitch sounds like any other drab pitch on this site, infact it is really wordy....surprising to me. Your style is much more interesting than that. It is poetry show your pitch as so, I believe it will draw in more readers;) talk soon
leah

lcowden wrote 1475 days ago

Hey Doug, FINALLY! you say. I have read four chapters. If you have taken a look at my work I am sure you will see that we have a different style of writing as I am sure you do from most on this site.
A very artistic layered presentation, I found that once I became imersed in the rithym of the Protag I could get into the story better, infact I reread the first page and a half once I finally did. One style note and as an artist I myself understand if this is the way you see your book and decide that my suggestion is not needed. The over abudance use of "And" at the first of each sentence seemed to throw me out of the story line a bit. I found myself skipping the word all together and it ran smoother in my mind. for example
When the boy child took breath. From the desert country first breath. The boy child roared. Now that makes a statement. The use of "And" softened it to me as a reader without it I can see the child actually come to life and I think that it what your intending with the use of the word roar. For some reason the word "country" bothers me in that sentence as well. Using "desert air" ooooh dry and flat I can see him breathing now....I think more of seperating the two as land and air when taking a breath, but you might view it as a whole everything is subjective in literature. I do like the use of "And" describing his mother in some of the next paragraph: And her arms trembled. And her... but un needed again at the first of it When she met his eyes sudden. When she saw his tears there. She broke. She sank. or She broke and she sank. To me it shows much more impact both of these ways rather than with the use of "And"
This is a piece that is very original, unintended for most, but enjoyable to those who can see it as more than just a piece of writing. Good luck with this;) I hope my info helps
Leah

carlashmore wrote 1485 days ago

This is very unusual work. Your pitch is very effective. I can't say I was a huge fan of the short, broken sentences. And it is so clear you can write very well. I've read some of the other feedback, and you may well be a genius - breaking every grammatical rule to establish your own rules in the way you have aestablished your own internal and external world in the story. It is certainly evocative. very good luck. Carl. The Time hunters

samtsuji wrote 1541 days ago

I have always believed that there is more passion and expression in the structure of a sentence, in the operation of our internal rhythm than in the definitions of the words themselves. So many writers are concerned with the rules of grammar and that damnably predictable sentence structure that they lose all sense of cadence. They lose passion in favor of adherence and expression in favor of explanation.

This, is a breath of fresh air. This is creativity and spark and turned my mind in circles. It's brilliant. They story unfolds like an impressionistic painting.

The birth scene was wonderfully rendered, and at once horrifying and heartbreaking.

Incredible. Incredible.

Backed--absolutely. But more so, my great respect to you.

JustinSirois wrote 1648 days ago

Backed!!

Justin
Falcons on the Floor

fidheallir wrote 1670 days ago

You've taken a major risk with your poetic but idiosyncratic style and your distant third-person narration. The dialogue sounds real, and I think you have a good feel for your setting. In some places, the unusual sentence structure and voice work well, but at other places it feels contrived or forced and can make reading difficult. While it's great that you bring an original style to the table, you want to make sure not to alienate the reader and are using this style because it enhances your story and not simply for the purpose of being unusual or innovative.

Alexander French wrote 1678 days ago

Doug

You've left me with a bit of a problem.

There is no doubt you have a distinctive voice and considerable talent.

At the same time, I can see why your work is causing so many readers difficulty. You're doing with words what Coltrane did with music and, like Coltrane, you are leaving people baffled.

Andrew W. mentioned your "halting prose" and " staccato sentences" He also made the acute observation that it could either be genius or too pretentious for words. Sadly, it is going to be assumed that the latter applies to an unpublished writer.

I would like to make one concrete suggestion. Perhaps you should think in terms of introducing a special sort of narrator. This narrator would have a quirky staccato style (possibly as a result of some trauma) and an obsession with Irish myth.

This would make your work rather like Mark Haddon's "The Incident of the Dog" (I can't remember the exact title) in which the narrator suffers from Asperger's syndrome. The reader of this book soon realizes that he has to "read through" the narrator's little quirks to get at what is really happening. Faulkner did something similar with "The Sound and the Fury" in which part of the story is told by a retarded child, and the true (i.e. the safer and more conventional) story is told later.

I know this would involve huge re-writing on you part and I don't envy you your task.

I think, however, you ought to consider something along the lines I have suggested.

Hope this helps!

Alexander French

Cas P wrote 1678 days ago

'On that most extraordinary day.'

And here's an extraordinary tale. To go with it. 'Country is alive for them.' We need more of that. We've lost that.

Doug, I won't pretend that this is an easy read. But it is a lyrical read once the cadences become clear and the mind becomes used to the style. It's an insightful read, one that I'm sure would open the mind. 'Could not be contained by a photograph.' No indeed!
There is towering vision here.

I'm shelving this for sheer originality.
Cas.
KING'S ENVOY

Andrew W. wrote 1685 days ago

Landfalls

Hi Douglas,

You are doing something unique and special here, halting prose, staccato sentences, it certainly has a rhythm all of its own, back and forth, back and forth. I can't work out whether this is genius or too pretentious for words, but I can honestly say that I have never read anything quite like it, a unique piece of writing. My sense is that you care not a jot whether it is marketable, that you are being creative in the truest sense of the word, you are bringing into the world something fresh and new, something exotic and unusual. It feels in many ways like a piece of modern art, it creates a reaction in its audience, makes us sit up and take note and probe its curiosity, but just like a piece of modern art for me I am not quite sure I got it, a failing in me rather than yourself I think. But it will stay with me and I think it deserves attention because it is so unique. Better writers than me can tell you whether they think it works, I found the repetition distracting, the stuttering sentences irritating, there were bits of beauty here and it was an interesting read without being an enjoyable one. I am backing it however because I am interested in others opinions and I hope you will accept my friend request so I can track the progress of your writing, I am curious to find out what others think as well.

Best wishes and good luck with this exotic and strange piece

Andrew W.
(Sanctuary's Loss)

zenup wrote 1691 days ago

This strikes me as better than White but much harder to read. I think you're trying to do something that few writers even attempt. As to its success, well, see what others think. All the best for your writing.

Phil Rowan wrote 1707 days ago

Hi Doug - I loved Landfalls. As I said earlier, I was drawn in by your pitch and opening and your writing certainly delivered: it's very good. I also like your plot and the way your characters interact. I want to put Landfalls on my shelf and I'm just waiting until it revolves sufficiently, which shouldn't be too long. I appreciate your comments on Weimar Vibes, but have a question. Did you think it showed enough potential to warrant a short spin on your shelf? I have already swapped with Louise and was very taken by her excellent Souvenirs. Best wishes and lots of luck on Authonomy - Phil Rowan

Kendall Craig wrote 1708 days ago

I was really excited by the long and short pitch for this. I thought that the prologue was amazing. It had a gentle lilt to it that I settled into immediately. I noticed from other comments that you have made a stylistic choice not to use commas, but I hardly noticed as the writing was smooth and had an almost auspiscious air to it that matched well what you were describing.
I found the next chapter a little harder, perhaps due to the word choice / order. There was nothing 'wrong' with this, just different and unfamiliar, but the more I read, the more I understood and enjoyed. I would have to echo a comment I recently recieved, which is that you sometimes have to re-read sentences, but you don't mind investing this time in a work of such quality and distinction.
Kendall Craig, The Halo (of Delight)

Louise Galvin wrote 1717 days ago

You said to me, a few days ago, that you need to write how you want to write and bugger the consequences. I came here, therefore, with expectation of finding something different, and, boy, do you deliver.

My eyes widened when I found a text without commas. Being a comma-addict, I palpitated for a second, but persisted. This is not necessarily easy reading (that you know), it demands a slow and close reading, but that brings rewards.

You, sir, have a voice. A most singular voice. Your prologue is stylistically strong. You are painterly with your words. The parag. starting ‘For when they watched…’ dazzled me.

This disrespects all the rules. I like that. It is more poetry than prose. Your vocabulary is precise and fresh. But the staccato sentences of the early chapters did start to give me strobe-shock. To dilute them, in a bid for broader appeal, would take away the individuality of your style. You are what you are; and what you are is unique.

I am not a creature of conventional tastes, but your writing appeals to me. Don’t expect to receive laurels here on Authonomy (the middle of the road rules here), but, for what it’s worth, you have my respect and backing.

Here’s to buggering the rules, eh, my friend!

Dusan wrote 1720 days ago

I found the (for want of a better word) 'poetic' style had a sonorous ring to it, which gives the chapters a mythic feel. I found reading it pretty tough going, but that might be more my abilities as a reader than your work - although as I read I realised that I would really really like to hear this out loud; it has a wonderful theatrical, mesmeric quality which works well when spoken.

If it is to work more easily on the page, as LawsonBlacklock notes, I think what it needs is more differentiation of the voices in the story. I thought it was a fascinating, original piece with some stunning images once I got used to the idiosyncratic style - good luck with it!

LawsonBlacklock wrote 1738 days ago

Now that I know the writing style is deliberate I can comment with a clearer frame of mind.

First things first... this has been on site since May and you have very little support for it. Why? Your pitch needs work... a serious overhaul. It does nothing to entice a reader... in fact, it makes your book sound like hard work. I'm surprised that someone who writes so lyrically with short, snappy sentences has a pitch where the sentences go on and on and on and on. Simplify it... make it more about the people and less about the conflict. You give out far too much information for a pitch... stick to the basics and let people who read your novel find out the plot for themselves.

As to the writing style, this is going to be a hit and miss scenario I'm afraid. It does take a long time to get into the swing of reading this, and there isn't much to differentiate between the Aboriginal and White viewpoint. My advice is to stick to the short snappy sentences for the Aboriginal viewpoint. Make those sections like a trail of thoughts in a foreign language (which we know it is) and bulk up the viewpoint for the white sections. Make George's thoughts run in a purer English, a more coherrent fashion. This way you can keep the lyrical short sections and give your reader a break from the difficulties of reading an odd English.

I like the idea of the conflict... and I wish there had been more of this uploaded for me to comment on. I write about the extinct Dharug natives, so its a different dreaming, but I read this with an open mind and as an extract rather than a full novel. Your opener will put some people off reading this (the overwhelming amount of Y.A and fantasy here means there are few people with an open mind to literary fiction) but I believe those who do read it will see its potential.

Best of luck with this,

L.x

Wilder wrote 1788 days ago
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