Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My new series: Still Life with Memories

For a long time I had this idea of creating a series around the events in the life of a unique family. The characters had to have not only a compelling voice, but they had to see things in an entirely different light, which would create contrasts and conflicts, as each one of them comes from a different background and has different passions, needs, and aspirations.

This series is titled Still Life with Memories. Check out the book descriptions and the ways they relate to each other: 

My Own Voice 
(volume I of Still Life with Memories)
Ten years ago, when she was seventeen, Anita started an affair with Lenny, in spite of knowing that he was a married man. Now married to him and carrying his child, she finds herself condemned to compete with Natasha’s shadow, the memory of her brilliance back in her prime, before she succumbed to early-onset Alzheimer’s. Despite Anita’s lack of education, her rough slang, and what happened to her in the past, Lenny tries to transform her. He wants her to become Natasha. 

Faced with his compelling wish, and the way he writes her as a character in his book, how can Anita find a voice of her own? And when his estranged son, Ben, comes back and lives in the same small apartment, can she keep the balance between the two men, whose desire for her is marred by guilt and blame? 

The White Piano
(volume II of Still Life with Memories)
Coming back to his childhood home after years of absence, Ben is unprepared for the secret, which is now revealed to him: his mother, Natasha, who used to be a brilliant pianist, is losing herself to early-onset Alzheimer’s, which turns the way her mind works into a riddle. His father has remarried, and his new wife, Anita, looks remarkably similar to Natasha—only much younger. In this state of being isolated, being apart from love, how will Ben react when it is so tempting to resort to blame and guilt? “In our family, forgiveness is something you pray for, something you yearn to receive—but so seldom do you give it to others.” 

Behind his father's back, Ben and Anita find themselves increasingly drawn to each other. They take turns using an old tape recorder to express their most intimate thoughts, not realizing at first that their voices are being captured by him. These tapes, with his eloquent speech and her slang, reveal the story from two opposite viewpoints. 

What emerges in this family is a struggle, a desperate, daring struggle to find a path out of conflicts, out of isolation, from guilt to forgiveness. 

The Music of Us 
(volume III of Still Life with Memories)
In 1970, Lenny can no longer deny that his wife is undergoing a profound change. Despite her relatively young age, her mind succumbs to forgetfulness. Now, he goes as far back as the moment he met Natasha, when he was a soldier and she—a star, brilliant yet illusive. Natasha was a riddle to him then, and to this day, with all the changes she has gone through, she still is.

“Digging into the past, mining its moments, trying to piece them together this way and that, dusting off each memory of Natasha, of how we were, the highs and lows of the music of us, to find out where the problem may have started?”

To their son, Ben, that may seem like an exercise in futility. For Lenny, it is a necessary process of discovery, one that is as tormenting as it is delightful. He often wonders: can we ever understand, truly understand each other—soldier and musician, man and woman, one heart and another? Will we ever again dance together to the same beat? Is there a point where we may still touch?


Dancing with Air 
(volume IV of Still Life with Memories)
Upon leaving NY to serve on the European front, Lenny begins to long for Natasha. At first, he enjoys fulfilling his military task, which is to write bogus reports, designed to fall into the hands of Nazi intelligence and divert their attention from the upcoming invasion in Normandy. To fool the enemy, these reports are disguised as love letters to another woman. This task has to remain confidential, even at the risk of Natasha becoming suspicious of him. 

Once she arrives in London, he takes her for a ride on the Harley throughout England, from the White Cliffs of Dover to a village near an underground ammunition depot in Staffordshire. When he is wounded in a horrific explosionthe largest to occur on UK soil—Natasha brings him back to safety, only to discover the other woman’s letter to him. Now, the one worry that lays heavily on his mind is this: Will she trust him again, even though as a soldier, he must keep his mission a secret? Will their love survive the test of war?

In the past Natasha wrote, with girlish infatuation, “He will be running his fingers down, all the way down to the small of my back, touching his lips to my ear, breathing his name, breathing mine. Here I am, dancing with air.” In years to come, she will begin to lose her memory, which will make him see her as fragile. “I gather her gently into my arms, holding her like a breath.” But right now, during the months leading up to D-Day, she is at her peak, ready to take charge of the course of their story.

Apart from Love 
(volume I and II of Still Life with Memories, woven together, with two additional chapters):

Apart from Love contains two threads, volume I and II of Still Life with Memories, woven together (along with two new chapters) around the same events in 1980, when Ben returns to meet his father, Lenny, and his new wife, Anita. It is then that he discovers a family secret. 



 Love reading? Get this series 
Volume I: My Own Voice
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Volume II: The White Piano
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Volume III: The Music of Us
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Volume IV: Dancing with Air
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Volume I & II, woven together: Apart from Love
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“Liberally salted with buttery smooth prose & fascinating insights”

2 comments:

  1. Avi I love you books. In enjoying The Music in me. Thank you so much.

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    Replies
    1. Aw so great to hear it Charlene! Music to my ears...

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