SHADES OF PERSEPHONE
"I knew very little about Chania originally. My guidebook called it Venice of the East. Some that I met described it as deliriously Cretan while those less romantic in their responses claimed barbarians from the North overran it during the summer months. Others had it anywhere from arty to cosmopolitan, but priced within reason. I arrived. I stayed.
"Church bells at dawn, goat song, the generosity of a warm and haughty people, ethereal light, nocturnal rhythms of Mediterranean venality, these presented an enticing fusion of spiritual and carnal attractions. This small city, in particular its old Venetian harbour, took hold of my heart with the grip of a metropolis. Dark eyed savants in cafés assured me that Chania represented the oldest site of urban life in Europe. Old boys in knee-high boots cried Chania for Arms! Quayside ouzo, fiery discourse, exotic flavours, searing sunsets, and bouzouki music. All agreeable possibilities. And, of course, Magalee"
KEVIN IN THE VALLEY
NOVEMBER 4, 2019 VERIFIED PURCHASE
MY WIFE AND I REAKKY ENJOYED READING THIS BOOK TOGETHER. SUCH AN EXCELLENT MYSTERY FOR FANS OF GREEK MYTHOLOGY. WE'D DISCUSS THE CUES AND LOOK UP PICTURES OF CHANIA AS I READ IT ALOUD. SHE TRAVELED IN GREECE IN THE EIGHTIES NOT LONG AFTER THE STORY WAS SET, AND SAYS STIRLING CAPTRURES WELL THE BEAUTY AND FLAVOUR OF THE PLACE AND TIME. IT HAS LEFT US WANTING TO BOOK TICKETS TO CRETE!
NOVEMBER 22, 2019
A friend gave me a copy of the novel to red. I had no idea what to expect. To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement.
Set in the early 1980s inCrete, the book explores the sometimes tenuous relationships of a cast of characters that ebbs and flows in the town of Chania, an ancient Venetian port. Central to the plot is a mystery that in som ways involves each of these characters.
The author skillfully weaves elements of mythology, Shakespearean tragedy and historic allusions to create a novel that is both intriguing and satisfying.
The mystery is not an easy read, buts a rewarding experience for those who enjoy a challenge and who appreciate fine writing.
I am looking forward to the next novel created by this author
A COMPELLING READ...HARD TO PUTDOWN ONCE THE TALE UNFOLDS
NOVEMBER 3, 2019
THE OLD VENETIAN PORT OF CHANIA
FAN OF BOTH GREEK MYTHOLOGY AND MYSTERIES? LOOK NO FURTHER
SHADES OF PERSEPHONE
What a fantastic read! Immediately the reader is aware of the beautiful writing. Smooth, tight, descriptive, full if irony and nuance, it reveals the narrative. The pace is quick, things happen. The many and varied characters, the subtleties of their relationships, the misunderstandings, the innuendoes unveil themselves early. Wonderful, magical Crete in the early '80's charms and, of course, enhances the mystery. And, it is this mystery, with its suggestion of myth overlaid with truth that is the essence of the piece.
Lighting the Lamp
Harry Brown, October 19, 2020
The plot of the novel revolves around Terry Burke, recently retired and living in Cowichan Bay, on Vancouver Island, and his quest to solve the mystery of the identity of a stranger found dead in the village. But it is much more than that. While searching for the identity if the man, he travels back to his roots in Montreal, where he reconnects with an array of characters from his youth. In doing so, he wrestles with the question of who he was and who he has become. Montréal is a key to both the identity of the dead man and to the character of Terry. Griffintown, Place St. Louis, the plateau and other city neighbourhoods trigger memories that may or may not be true. And, to me, that is the essence of the book. Are we humans inventions of our imaginations or are we on a quest to become who we are meant to be? Terry Burke is himself an interesting character, certainly one with whom I can identify.
At times irritable, at times confused, at times astonished, at times enlightened, he represents those of us who are searching for a way to understand ourselves and the world around us. As in “Shades of Persephone,” the author makes effective use of mythology, allusion, and symbolism to suggest the themes of the novel. And, once again, the writing is excellent and a worthwhile challenge to those readers who are ready for a literary challenge. Highly recommended, and I look forward to Reed’s next novel.
A Fantastic Read
Lighting the Lamp follows recently retire, somewhat confused Terry Burke as he unravels the mystery presented by the discovery of a body near his Vancouver Island home. As he delves into the bewildering circumstances surround the death of this poor soul, Burke’s own history becomes entwined with that of the stranger’s and the search for the man’s identity initiates a quest for his own. With that in mind, a cross-country trip by train is a eye-opening experience for him in more ways than one and before reaching his birth place of Montreal, Terry inadvertently identifies the stranger. Hoping to understand how the two were connected in his former life, he enlists his Montreal friends and family to tie up the loose ends of his past, and in the end discovers more about himself than had he not set out on his journey. He reconnects with people and places dear to him, bringing together his Irish and French Canadian history and though his memories are still his own, those people present him with a somewhat different, though beautiful, perspective. Indeed, Terry Burke lights the lamp with a little help from his friends!
I recommend this product.
Lillian Kavan, 28 June, 2020
Insightful & Revealing
In Lighting the Lamp, Terry Burke, an irascible but sincere, retired Everyman, sets out on an odyssey across the decades in pursuit of equilibrium and peace of mind. He understands that there’s more than one mystery in his life to be solved. From the wharves of BC’s Cowichan Bay to the Old Port of Montreal and back again, Burke uncovers and records lost chapters in his personal history, some worthy of positive remembrance, some the source of painful regret, and some helpful in explaining away one of the mysteries. Where redemption proves elusive for Terry, perspective is definitely gained. Steeped in new-found but essential truth, he undergoes a form of rebirth allowing a more authentic self to emerge. Proust would enjoy the inclusion and applaud Burke’s realization that remembrance of things past in not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.
Lighting the Lamp defies genre classification: fictional memoir, literary noir, mythological mystery, social satire, a study of post 9/11paranoia, an existential travel guide… Chapter headings with appropriate quotations set the stage for each episodic crisis and resolution.
Among myriad themes in this all-encompassing work, two in particular draw the informed reader deeper into the narrative: the Socratic declaration that “the unexamined life is not worth living” and the alarming justification of mythical Medea (a source of inspiration for Terry Burke in her contemporary guise) that “the woman scorned is the woman reborn.”
Terry Burke's view to the historical present
Montreal in late nineteenth century, a gifted young poet falls victim to madness.
Today, a struggling father is driven to drink over the intransigence of his music-obsessed teenage son. An equally conflicted wife and mother threatens separation.
What connects these two worlds?
The Victorian fountain in Square Saint-Louis, a series of seemingly random incidents in the city, and a school reunion where myth, art, and mysterious e-lixar fuse into dramatic reflections of family dynamics. Through mirroring, resolution proves possible.