The Island Country
Welcome to my spot on The Island Country by Richard Daub Book Tour hosted by Travelling Pages.
About the Book
Long Island, New York, just after World War II, when the country was great for some and not so great for others, home to the Smith family: Philip, a racist Nassau County detective with a secret; his mentally ill wife, Eunice, speeding around the house looking for her coffee can of prescription pills; their oldest son, Philip Jr., aspiring pastor and budding monster; daughter Joyce, with a serious artistic talent that, in the great mall culture, she doesn’t know what to do with; and Oscar, an obese child who wants nothing more than to be a fireman when he grows up.
After surviving her own dysfunctional childhood, Joyce marries Roger, a beeraholic Customs Inspector with whom she would have two children, Griff, an enterprising lad fully comfortable on the other side of a line, and Stacy, a girl attuned to a dark frequency few can perceive. Decades go by, marriages fall apart, children long to escape, and Joyce struggles to find happiness in her art and life in the only place she would ever know.
Review for The Island Country
Dysfunction at its finest. Insert mental and physical abuse trigger warning. These parents blew my mind, the racist father is a piece of work and the mother was ignored while popping pills. This coming-of-age story is set in Long Island, NY. We glimpse stages of Joyce’s life in crisply flowing narrative. There aren’t many characters to keep straight, making this a quick read that kept my attention. I do wish we were given better notice of the chronology of events. In the end, the girl we felt sorry for pursues happiness through artistic expression, served up as hope.
About the Author
Richard Daub grew up on Long Island, New York, where he pilfered milk crates, loitered in bowling alleys, rumbled in shopping mall parking lots, stocked supermarket frozen foods aisles, played guitar, cruised nightclub parking lots for girls, wrote crappy song lyrics, and longed for the day he’d forever leave “Strong Island”.
He fled the Atlantic Northeast for the Pacific Northwest and, in the late 1990s, worked for a company named after a piranha-filled river that sold books on the World Wide Web, where he met his wife.
In the 2000s he became an inexperienced journalist and quickly rose to international prominence covering the animal pharmaceutical industry. After toiling in journalism for a number of years and reminding himself that he was but an artist, the author began a career in real estate, selling condos in Harlem until the financial disaster of 2008.
The real estate market having collapsed, he took a factory job. He moved with his wife and child to Westchester County, New York. After years of labor, husbanding, and childrearing, he began writing again from 3am until time to go to work. He eventually completed The Adventures of Hyperkid, a young adult novel written with his son. He completed two adult novels, History of von Schatt (1913-1960) and The Island Country. The Greater Massapequas is what agents and publishers love most, short story collections from unknown writers. Take that to your fiction workshop and smoke it.
History of von Schatt was inspired by a creepy painting hung on in his author’s grandmother’s Long Island home. It’s a portrait of the ship captain grandfather he’d never met. A man so frightening that the author saw fear in the eyes of grownups whenever they spoke of “The Captain”. He’d been dead two decades. Harrowing tales of land and sea were told as they never imagined the boy would recall them later in life.
The Island Country and The Greater Massapequas are drawn from the author’s experience growing up on the desolate, amber-lit streets and mall culture of the Long Island suburbs he longed to get as far from as possible without leaving the country.
He submitted these works to “literary agents”, leeches of a swine publishing industry. After recalling that definition of insanity of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, he decided to heed the advice of other successful artists, to make it happen yourself.
The author would eventually realize that he could have written the greatest novel ever and he still would have gotten the same nonresponse. In his exhaustive research, he learned that there are precious few slots for titles from unknown literary writers, especially for those who didn’t hail from one of America’s leading “academic institutions”, or some “workshop” in the middle of a cornfield, or some academia that places undue relevance to the “The” before its name and has fraternities with secret handshakes and professors on the take.
More about the Author
The author, with several completed works in the can and crossing the threshold of fifty, old enough to have written on electric typewriters and word processors and computers with sensitive floppy disks, realized he did not need some promise of commercial success from the leeches and swine, and, that, as an artist, he needed to put his work out there and let the world decide, not some Manhattan socialite.
“It took me fifty years, but now it’s time to do it my way,” said the author recently at a sub-gala affair in south-central Westchester County. “I’m not going to live long enough for the publishing industry and its gatekeepers to get their heads out of their ass. It is time to let the world decide.”
Giveaway for The Island Country
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The Island Country Book Tour Schedule
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