Sunday, March 25, 2007


In as much as completing the first draft of my novel, Turnstiles, that I have been working on since I returned from a two-month solo back-packing trip around Western Europe and the U.K. in 1998. I didn't believe I had really experienced enough to write a full-length book until I saw more of the world (and developed a keener and more mature eye for social issues in the world). Now, as I've been told, comes the real work. I'm going to revel in this part until the start of 2007... then I'll start tearing the first draft apart, where needed. Naturally, the main question is always 'so, what is your book about?' Here is a synopsis of the book:

Turnstiles is a novel with elements of social commentary. The main characters are three youths (aged early to mid-twenties), each representing a social ill that is an increasing problem in society. Marty is a street person, Wil is a wealthy aristocrat, and Evelyn (aka Yvonne) is a prostitute. The novel is not political in any way, but it does speak to these social problems through the smaller scope of each character’s individual trials. There is a struggle that exists between the need to serve one’s own needs and to participate in the larger social scheme that is expected. Marty and Wil are both trying to fit in to the world, but on their own terms. They are naive characters, searching for an Eden-like state of being, who develop their views of the world and themselves through broader experience, travel, and social interaction. They achieve these new perspectives by switching their fortunes.Marty is an idealistic youth who leaves British Columbia to live in London, England. He travels to London with little money and no concrete plans. Eventually, he runs out of money and is forced to panhandle because he doesn’t want to join the workaday world, which he views as socialism and materialism. Wil is a Londoner and aristocrat who recently lost his wealthy and estranged father. In his father’s will, Wil was left an astronomical amount of money, which has already been deposited into his account. In desperation, he makes out an unsigned cheque of this amount and randomly gives it to a street person, who happens to be Marty. Evelyn is a character who, in the midst of regaining her independence and inner strength, indirectly connects and motivates Marty and Wil. Turnstiles weaves a story that brings discovery and healing for each character by way of a journey.

Here is an excerpt:

The train was slowing down, and the relentless, hypnotic message in the click clacking of the wheels could almost be deciphered. As soon as the train was in the station, Martin and Evelyn stumbled through the passenger door like newborns coming into a strange world. Once they stepped foot on the dirty platform they were disoriented, but kept running. As they came into the terminal, their mad dash dissipated into a jog so as not to bring unnecessary attention to themselves. Although their appearances brought notice, they were perceived as a young couple running to catch a taxi, rather than fugitive-types fleeing from a pursuit on their lives.

... The queue inched forward, person-by-person, going over the edge. Martin shuffled down the human conveyor belt until he, too, had to state his destination and was handed a ticket. This rectangular piece of paper, which could be torn so easily, was his passport to a new life or an extension of his old life. Even though his daily regimen in Hyde Park had been tethered and desolate, it was a familiar place. And more than twice today, Martin had questioned himself of what he was doing. Why he was doing it. Oddly enough, there were no real answers and he could no longer justify his doubts.“Track seventeen,” the man in the conductor’s hat announced sharply from behind the counter. When asked about his destination, Martin squeaked, “Paris.” Not because he ever had the desire to stroll through the streets of Paris, but simply because he knew about the Chunnel. Paris would not be a far journey, geographically, and he was taking baby steps. He spoke no French – but he knew how to be silent and still make his way. Martin sat on one of the rickety benches that lined the platform on track seventeen. They were planted like telephone poles until they miniaturized and disappeared. He looked to his left and remembered he was at the end, or the beginning. Those seated at the far end perhaps believed the same thing, he mused. He had no luggage with him. An elderly couple seated on the bench next to him acknowledged his youth, and smiled. He wondered if they were marvelling at him, thinking to themselves, 'must be wonderful to be young and free,' and remembering, even though they were headed in the same direction. He smiled back, not really understanding what he was smiling about. The train he was waiting for could be taking him to the end of the earth.

Posted by Andrea McKenzie at 11:56 AM

Sean said...
This teaser is too short! I'm looking forward to more.
December 7, 2006 1:23 PM

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Looking forward to your book tour :)