Striving to Deliver: Book review of Deliverance, a novel by Miantae Metcalf McConnell
The front cover of Deliverance proclaims Mary Fields (c. 1832–1914), the putative subject of the novel, ‘First African American Woman Star Route Mail Carrier in the United States’. The cover also announces that this is ‘A Montana History’.
Mary Fields had been born into slavery and was only freed with Abolition. She must have been a woman of great determination and perseverance, for she won the respect and friendship of the communities she served, and was an independent businesswoman. ‘Black Mary’, as she was known by many, even became the ‘mascot’ of a local baseball team. She did not become an employee of the US Post Office; rather, in common with other persons, she was contracted to deliver the mail on a specified route based on her initial bid, her guarantees and her dependability. In 1885 Mary was awarded the contract to deliver mail from Cascade, Montana to St Peter’s Mission.
Farewell OlympusWriting Over, Designing Begins
I am tremendously excited to have finished my new novel, Farewell Olympus, which was an entirely new writing experience for me. Now it’s time to think about cover copy and book descriptions. I find it difficult to describe my own work, partly because I dislike blowing my own trumpet, partly because I can never decide what it is exactly. Farewell Olympus is no exception: I think it’s funny, but in a dry, seldom laugh-out-loud way. I also think it’s clever and entertaining, but then I would say that, wouldn’t I? It has elements of mystery and thriller, but it’s definitely not either of those. About all I can say with any confidence is that it’s fiction. Here’s what I have come up with so far.
Published by Unsung Stories
ISBN 9781907389436 pbk
ISBN 9781907389443 ePub
Metamorphoses sudden and brutal characterize many of the stories in Malcolm Devlin’s excellent collection of – what? Speculative fiction? Horror? Gothic? Supernatural? Dystopian? I am happy to say I don’t know what it is precisely, for, like a lot of good writing, Devlin’s eludes definite classification and description, and to pigeon-hole it as one thing or another would be to diminish and distort its achievement. It evokes genre without being bound by it; its ideas and metaphors speak of larger things beyond genre expectations; its departure point is ordinary life made extraordinary by the seepages and eruptions of the inexplicable, the unknown and half-suspected, the fearful and the beguiling. Continue reading
Published by Waxing Press
ISBN 0998562009 (print)
ISBN 0998562017 (digital)
Why can novels about people at work be so pleasurably captivating? Undoubtedly, it’s rather nice to think that others are toiling away while we read about them, and the similarities and differences with our own working lives emerge with unusual clarity: occupations do not have to be exotic or abstruse for us to find them fascinating. An Accidental Profession is all about work: its organization and administration, what it does to people, the power of the corporation, our ambivalent relationships with our co-workers. Continue reading