A young man, Igor, adopts as his mother a middle aged woman, Sylvia, after meeting her in a café, each having come from the nearby cemetery. He had been visiting his mother’s grave; she, her son’s. In taking it upon himself to investigate the death of Sylvia’s son, Igor soon finds himself confronting racists. Sylvia is black; Igor is white. The deeper he delves, the more intricately embroiled he becomes and the more he becomes the focus of a police investigation himself.
Alongside the surface interplay of the characters, Igor remains preoccupied with an inquiry into the nature of existence. Within the field of human activity, notions of ‘good and bad’ and ‘pleasure and pain’ are perhaps bound to prevail, but the essence of existence must precede such differentiation. The presence of suffering in the world should not be taken as proof that the world cannot be perfect. A photograph consisting only of black or only of white would probably seem pretty boring. A world consisting only of good or only of bad would perhaps be comparable to such a photograph. Each extreme acquires its significance by being in juxtaposition with its opposite. Happiness does not result from the elimination of suffering; rather, happiness may ensue when the realm of pleasure and pain has been transcended.
One aspect of the title, Black & White, relates to issues of race. Another aspect relates to Igor’s ability in violent situations to interpret matters in black and white terms. However, it is as a general phrase covering all dualities that the title derives its primary import. The use of the ampersand character in the title imitates its usage by photographers when referring to ‘black & white’ images, and is intended to denote a synthesis of the individual terms into a unitary whole.
The book includes some brief passages depicting scenes of polyamorous sex (pleasure) and homicidal violence (pain).
Sylvie works in an e-commerce company, ‘Good Vibration’, specializing in the distribution of adult toys. She’s surrounded by colorful people as well as interesting items she refuses to use.
The place has been her lifeline, even though it’s made out of silicone and plastic, for two and a half years as she still tries to come to terms with the devastation of losing of her husband while bringing up their daughter, alone.
Her world is turned upside down when her work partner collapses and his stepson, Finlay, comes in to sort out the business, which his family own.
The consummated snob isn’t impressed with it and wants it to shut it down. He finds the product and people distasteful … and it shows. And he has his own problems, as his beautiful French wife has just told him she’s pregnant but he might not be the father.
Determined to keep the place open, against someone fixed on closing it down, the pair fight tooth and nail to achieve what they want, both poles apart on how they see the world and why.
But could opposites really attract?
Or is it that they want to be with that person, but all for the wrong reasons?
It’s about finding unexpected love in the most extraordinary place when faced with every possible obstacle to stop having a ‘Good Vibration’.
Joana is a conservative, controlling woman who expected much more from marriage; Maria is trying to get back on her feet after being dumped just before her wedding; Filipe hides his broken heart in failed relationships. Is this as good as it gets when you’re thirty something? That’s what these three friends from college times will find out during a dysfunctional dinner party. Because life is not always how we dreamed it would be.
Sunspots follows the healing journey of a young woman thrown into the horror of losing a spouse. It is a story of loss and redemption and the ghosts that haunt our lives and our houses. A love story, a romance, and a mystery of sorts, Sunspots, is above all an exploration into the psyche and emotional arc of the MC and it follows no formula.
“One can never be, and should never be, smug about life,” says Aurora Goldberg. An aspiring New York actress who has never realized her dreams, Aurora keeps herself afloat by doing odd temp jobs where her rich fantasy life helps her get through the day. Aurora sees the world through the lens of characters in literature and film and these fictionalizations are woven into her interpretation of reality. On one of her temp assignments she meets Jake Stein, a man who could “charm the skin off a snake” and she decides to follow her destiny as his wife in Austin, Texas. But Jake’s sudden death after two short years disintegrates her world and Aurora must reevaluate her life and let go of a love that has become an obsession.
Sunspots takes the reader on a journey of high emotion as Aurora uncovers Jake’s secret life and her own internal conflicts as she matures to self-awareness. Narrated by Aurora, the novel’s tone vacillates from irreverent humor to solemnity as she relates her previous life with Jake and her present challenges. The title refers to the solar maximum which became the backdrop for Aurora’s conception when her hippy parents went to Canada to observe the Aurora Borealis. In name and in spirit, Aurora is connected to the observable and unobservable energy around us.
With the help of friends, family, and the ghost of Viola Parker (her home’s original owner), Aurora accepts her fate and the secrets revealed about Jake’s true character. She realizes that in this life she will finally break the cycle of pain caused by her love for this man, Jake Stein, through the centuries.
Embedded in the novel is the question of the afterlife and paranormal events abound. The incidents are left vague enough so the reader is not certain if they are external events witnessed by Aurora or exist only in her own mind. My approach to the extraordinary has always been with keen interest and skepticism. Just as we cannot see unaided that at the quantum level solid objects consist of vast spaces and swirling particles, so too, we define our human existence with only our limited five senses, three dimensional orientation, and our perceived space/time continuum. So then, what can one say with any certainty is reality?
A string of misfortunes has left photographer Carrie Daniels penniless and desperate. When her former mentor, Louise Dickenson, steps forward to offer her a job as an art model for a private commission, Carrie has no choice but to accept. Things seem to be looking up when she meets Scott Andrews, however her friends soon realize that Scott isn’t who he appears to be, and Carrie’s luck goes from bad to worse when Louise’s photos of her fall into the wrong hands. Can Alex Montoya, a long-lost friend from her past, save her from ruin?
Hannelore Riker is a grad student with a dry sense of humor, a pathetic dating life, and little patience for grade-grubbing undergrads. She does her best to keep from falling for a guy who always seems ready with a witty remark, and she learns to deal with eccentric professors who play by their own set of rules.
Some reviews for Hannelore Takes Note:
“[L]ike talking to a girlfriend…lovely in [parts], funny everywhere else.”
“[I]t was compelling, the characters were imaginative.”
“I really enjoyed this book and was laughing out loud at some of the antics…”
“The author did a really great job of writing with a snarky wit…The characters were well developed…”