Friday, February 26, 2010

2010 Penguin/Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest

My third novel Cave Gossip makes the first cut in the 2010 Penguin/Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest.

Here is the pitch:

One summer night in Avignon in 1972, the notorious German writer Georg Löwe introduces twelve-year-old Karl Wisent to myth, magic, and treachery; and, from that day forward, he struggles to escape the ghosts, goddesses, and girlfriends that haunt him.

Cave Gossip is a love story, but only in the sense that Iris Murdoch’s The Severed Head, François Truffaut’s The Man who Loved Women, or Robertson Davies’ The Manticore is a love story. Think, then, of Iris Murdoch writing A Hero of a Thousand Faces or Joseph Campbell penning Women in Love.

The plot consists of five distinct parts: Karl, while on a summer vacation in Avignon in 1972, discovers his mother is having an affair and then meets the notorious German writer Georg Löwe, who tells him a ghost story and introduces him to the healing magic of myth and imagination; Karl in Paris in 1992 enters into an affair with the self-absorbed Hélène, who lives with Gaspard, an actor; Karl in the summer of 1993 once again at the house in the hills above Avignon hosts seven guests from around the world who chaotically shatter his world of myth and fantasy; in Nice, Karl reunites with Hélène, who is pregnant with his child and on the verge of marrying Gaspard, and then Karl encounters the nine mythic “mothers” who gather on the beach to set him straight; and finally Karl in Munich in 2009 prepares to meet his fifteen-year-old daughter for the first time.

Ultimately, Cave Gossip is a fable about myth that tells a tale of moral blindness, mother-love, misunderstanding, magic, poetry, and mankind’s inherent use of myth to understand everyday reality.

Cave Gossip should appeal to anyone interested in myth, poetry, psychology, individuation, religion, romance, and, ultimately, the question of being.