An Hour in the Darkness
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Michael Bailey’s new novel charts the unsettling and powerful story of one young man’s slide into a confused reality.
‘I have been hugely inspired by JD Salinger – The Catcher in the Rye,’ observes Edinburgh author Michael. ‘I enjoy using the first person narrative and this style works well with An Hour in the Darkness.’
Michael’s novel begins when his narrator, Franklin, suffers a bang on his head that jars his grasp on reality. Franklin begins his desperate journey through his home town in his search of love, forgiveness and understanding. He finds comfort in conversations with his young sister Jenny – but as he reveals himself to be a highly unreliable narrator, we must ask if Jenny exists or is merely a figment of his troubled mind?
Franklin is increasingly losing touch with reality when, against the backdrop of a local landmark he meets a man he believes to be God. This stranger tells of his own son who had similar problems and in his increasing confusion Franklin believes the man is likening him to Jesus. As Franklin’s life spirals further out of control his behaviour becomes ever more erratic, culminating in his touching, frightening attempts to win the affections of market-girl Ronnie, who is fascinated and frightened in turn by this strange, funny, ill young man.
Dealing with such universal themes as loss, love, guilt, forgiveness, relationships and mental health, this is an unsettling, but powerful, novel which will appeal to readers of books such as The Shock of the Fall.
American gangster myself or something. I kill myself sometimes, saying things like yesserday instead of yesterday. Listen, I warned you I can be a pretty funny guy when I want to. “Okay, buster, just buy your fruit and clear off. And don’t start any of that crazy stuff again. I don’t want you scaring my staff, okay?” It made me laugh a little more when he said “my staff” like that, like he had about a million people working for him. We both knew damn well that Ronnie was the only person who
her at the same time. “I’ve got to get my bus. I’m late as it is. That market’s so fucking busy.” I sure didn’t like to hear old Ronnie swearing like that. Listen, I knew I wanted to marry Ronnie – and pretty soon – and so I knew I would have to tell her that I didn’t like women swearing. Jenny swore once and Dad just about hit the roof. She just giggled afterwards though, like it was all very amusing, and everything. She used the F word, for Chrissake. Jenny didn’t even know what the word
and everything, and also the part about her forgiving me. Boy, I sure needed to hear it too. I’d been feeling lousy myself; cooped up in my room in the freezing cold. I was at a low-ebb, I admit it. It’s funny, and I don’t know why I did it, but I sort of leant forwards and said, “Thanks for forgiving me, Jenny.” Just like that. I sort of whispered it really, but Ronnie heard me anyway. “What?” “Sorry.” “Who’s Jenny? What are you talking about?” “I’m Jesus,” I said. It didn’t do any
could it be nearly as beautiful as she was. Those magical bits of snow glittering all over the goddamn place were the only things that came near to the beauty of Jenny. Old Mum tried, bless her. One night, when Jenny was still in the hospital, I came down in the night because I couldn’t sleep or something. Anyway, Mum and Dad were sitting on the sofa and they didn’t know I was there, and everything. I was really quiet, I admit it. I was like Kwai Chang Caine treading on the rice paper. Anyway,
phobia or something, okay? People were always asking Danny what size clothes he wore until it just about made him sick with humiliation. And once, some wise guy asked him how big his trousers were and Danny boy said that if the man went out and brought him a pair then he would know how big they were. Danny boy said it in a real cool way as well by all accounts. It really made me howl when I heard that old Danny had said it like that. Anyway, when I got to the museum I found you couldn’t sit