Set in the near future, An Other’s Look is a darkly humorous tale about the filters and frames we use to shield ourselves from reality, and what might happen should we discard them.
Germaine Kiecke was a foundling, an orphan, brought up by the infamous ‘Motherhood’ in a Belgian orphanage. Now she is a successful art academic who defines herself by her profession and prefers to experience the world through art and an augmented reality game called Happy Family.
But when the artist Tom Hannah, the creative force behind Happy Family, moves to Spain, surrounds himself with high walls, three large guard dogs called Harpo, Chico and Groucho, and a runaway who teaches him to think like a tree, his existential melt-down threatens all Germaine holds dear.
She is forced to re-engage with life and travels to Spain to try to make things right. Along the way she meets people who are also, for one reason or another, dependent on Tom’s fictional world to augment their own ‘real’ lives.
An Other’s Look is a working title, and although it is not a sequel, it is related to the novel, The Wrong Story, which was published by Unbound Books in March 2017.
A back door opened and a shaft of harsh yellow light fell onto the patio along with a large man. He landed heavily on his knees and there he remained, head down, his long tangled hair and unruly moustache and beard obscuring his face.
“Ouch,” he said. “Horrible pain.”
It had been a peaceful scene until then, the quiet time that comes after midnight when there is a spring chill in the air and a pre-dew dampness rising from the grass. Now this man was here, breathing heavily and staring at the paving slabs.
“Hard,” he said. “Very hard.”
He stood up, slowly, stiff-legged, tottering to one side as he did so. He was wearing a dressing gown, open and untied with the cord hanging loose. He was naked underneath. He raised and lowered each leg and his knees crackled as cartilage moved where it hadn’t moved before.
“Restorative,” he said.
He took a bottle of rum from his dressing gown pocket and drank from it extravagantly, tipping back his head and holding it above his mouth. He held it there for a long time until he belched and said, “Pardonnez moi,” and put the bottle on the ground, placing it exactly in the centre of the paving slab. Then he set off across the lawn heading towards a shrubbery and a ring of woodland beyond.
His bare feet quickly became wet and he stopped once and knelt on the damp grass as if hoping its coolness would soothe his knees before struggling back to his feet and carrying on. He passed through the shrubbery – tiers of landscaped bushes that had once been tended and nurtured and which now grew wild and uncared for – and entered the prickly, drier, darker area of the woods.
Silence and stillness returned. The garden was peaceful again and the night settled down to its business. And then two other shapes detached themselves from the shadows. One was a dog, old and threadbare, its eyes hidden behind curls of fur; and the other was a girl, a teenager, who had been sitting on the damp grass away from the light. The dog walked onto the patio and sniffed the rum and knocked the bottle over and waited as if expecting some liquid to drip out. The girl watched him and then made a clicking sound from her back teeth. The dog left the bottle and came over to her.
She was small and wiry and wore jeans and an old baggy jumper and ruined flip-flops. She swung a knapsack from her back and rummaged through it until she pulled out an object wrapped in a faded towel. It was a large knife. She ran her finger along the blade. “This is why you have to look after things,” she said. “To keep them sharp.” She looked down at the dog. “Come on.” She left the bag on the patio next to the bottle and set off across the lawn, following the path in the grass left by the man.
It's three weeks since Unbound began to crowdfund An Other’s Look, which means there are ten weeks to go. The clock started ticking on the 22nd of February and we have until 23rd of May to hit the target. So far, the support has been fantastic: 21% of the target raised; 30 supporters; many more people promising to add their support; lots of posting, retweets, FB sharing and Instagram likes on the…
I’m getting good at sums – particularly percentages and averages. Here’s a quick update on how things are going. Four days since the An Other’s Look site went live and I’ve hit 8%. I have 90 days to reach 100%. It’s possible.
Thank you to those who have already supported the publication and pre-ordered a copy(ies) – it means a lot. I hope you’ll all be at the launch party! I think the reward levels…
...to my Unbound site for An Other's Look. The site has gone live and here it is!
I spent all last year (2017) writing An Other's Look following the Stephen King model: I wrote the first draft as fast as I could, kept it hidden and let it brew. Only after the second draft was complete did I let it out for peer review. And then a third draft before submitting it. (No doubt there will be a few more…
These people are helping to fund An Other's Look.