An exciting fiction debut: a collection of psychologically complex, often darkly comic stories that take us into the self-made Edens of travelers whose certain paths around the world lead invariably back to the uncertain self.
The title story introduces Charles Mortimer, an aging, ailing war reporter determined to reestablish his name by covering a little-noted civil war playing out in the Sahara. In the stories that follow, we see the arc of his life: extraordinary journalistic accomplishment at the very apex of his field; a precipitous, disgraced end to his career; and, finally, a chance discovery of an obituary that revives his memories of the beautiful French photographer who had accompanied him through the Sahara, and whose love he forfeited as the price for his fleeting success.
The Caribbean is the deceptively paradisiacal setting for the second cycle of stories .... Imbued with an erotic, muscular charge, imaginative depth and compulsive energy here is the work of an assured and gifted writer.
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"The stories Shukman tells are a warning to men who have let their pursuits become too one-dimensional--and seldom are such warnings handed over with landscapes this compelling." - Booklist.
"A skillfully crafted, eclectic collection." - Kirkus Reviews.
"Fearless, brilliantly realized . . . English romanticism took the exile and turned him into the expatriate . . . Henry Shukman is too gifted a writer to push this cultural scrim into the foreground, but its the unseen backdrop that binds together his richly rewarding new collection of short fiction, Mortimer of the Maghreb." - The Los Angeles Times.
"To be honest, I was relieved to be done with Mortimer's gloom and self-pity, and I read Shukman's three remaining stories with greater pleasure. While his new anti-heroes are also alcoholically challenged, he displays a great deal more humor in the Caribbean than he did in the Maghreb." - The New York Times.
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Henry Shukman has worked as a trombonist, a trawlerman and a travel writer. His fiction has won an Arts Council Award and has been a finalist for the O. Henry Award. His first poetry collection, In Dr. Nos Garden, won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and was a Book of the Year in The Times (London) and The Guardian. His poems have appeared in the New Republic, The Guardian, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent on Sunday, Times Literary Supplement and London Review of Books. He lives in New Mexico with his wife and two sons, where he teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
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