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For These Turbulent Times....


How to respond to these extraordinary times?  Here’s my contribution….


…a while ago, Lin and I journied to Israel, and then to the West Bank.  As a university student, I’d spent three long summers on a kibbutz north of the Sea of Galilee.  One of those visits co-incided with the immediate aftermath of the Six Day War.  Kibbutz Shamir lay half-way up the Golan Heights, and I and my mate found ourselves on the very edge of history.  The year before, you could toss an apple into Syria.  Suddenly, as long as you were careful about the minefields and the rabid dogs, you could walk for hours and still be in Israeli-held territory.  That summer, the Jews celebrated a kind of deliverance and sharing that small miracle was an experience I’ll never forget.  Hence, decades later, Lin and I hopping on a plane and jetting off to Tel Aviv.


What we found was deeply confounding.  Israel’s exuberance and generosity had gone.  The post-war re-drawing of the map of that tinder-dry slice of the Middle East had frozen in time.  To the victor, the spoils.  To the Palestinians, barely the leavings of a life.  Even Kibbutz Shamir had changed beyond recognition, a tidy collection of fenced properties and roundabouts that you might find on the outskirts of Basingstoke.  Everything privately owned.  Barely a trace left of the shared hardship that had created these settlements in the first place.


Back home, still angry, I spent far too much time trying to work out exactly what I thought of this hideous theft of settler dreams, and Palestinian nationhood.  Then, as writers tend to, I began to think in terms of character, and plot, and maybe some kind of resolution.  Hence Acts of Separation, mid-way between a novella and a full-length book.


I wrote it in three parts - Charlie McGuigan, Steve Fairfax, Sapir Dahan – each belonging to one of the three key characters.  Given our shared isolation – lots of time, maybe not much to do – it occurs to me that a three-part offer might be a cheerful gesture. 


All you have to do to receive Part One (Charlie McGuigan), is contact me through this website.  I’ll send you the first 73 pages, and if you like it enough to carry on, just let me know and I’ll send Part Two, and then – hopefully – Part Three.  No money involved.  All absolutely free.  Tempted?  I hope so….