Books

DETAILS BELOW ON –

FICTIONTHE WHITE PORCUPINE,  THE PHYSICIAN OF SANLUCAR,  GLENFARRON,  POOR MERCY,  BLUE POPPIES

NON-FICTIONLUCK OF THE DEVIL,  TRUE LOVE & BARTHOLOMEW,  THE CRAFT OF FICTION, HALL IN THE HEART, and 21 POEMS by RAMON LOPEZ VELARDE

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Published January 2015

THE WHITE PORCUPINE
a novel of love and rebellion
in Java and Holland

THE WHITE PORCUPINE is a virtuoso novel. It is a mystery, and an exploration of loyalties: father and daughter, lovers and friends, soldiers and nations. Set in Java in the 1940s and the Netherlands in the 1970s, it tells the peculiar story of Ben Pinksterbloem, a military radio expert caught up in a post-colonial drama. Ben is brave, cunning, and ruthless, but in Java he commits the soldier’s ultimate betrayal.

The novel is based on historical events: the Indonesian War of Independence that  ended in 1950, and a series of terrorist “actions” in the Netherlands. It is in part based on a true-life character, A dutch soldier who decided that what his countrymen were doing in Java was wrong, and who switched sides – but at a terrible cost to his family.
The White Porcupine is published in two editions: an e-book from all the usual sites (Amazon, Barnes & Noble etc), and a hardback with nice paper, a Dutch typeface of the 1940s, and a very attractive dustjacket. This is a signed and numbered limited edition of 150 copies available from me – get in touch!

porc cov smash 2

ISBN: 978-0-9510596-1-6

Available from COURTYARD BOOKS, 9 Bonnygate, Cupar, Fife KY15 4BU

Tel. 01334 657890.   Email: courtyard29a@yahoo.com

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HALL IN THE HEART

A Fife village hall and its community 1914-2014

I was commissioned to write this little book to celebrate a centenary. It turned out to be rather a revelation for me, the history of the parish exposing remarkable tensions and changes in Scottish rural society. The book has two dozen photographs.

hall heart front cover

HALL IN THE HEART is available from COURTYARD BOOKS, 9 Bonnygate, Cupar, Fife KY15 4BU

Tel. 01334 657890.   Email: courtyard29a@yahoo.com

at around £7.

ISBN 978-0-9510596-2-3

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A novel of South America

 The Physician of Sanlúcar

 Published May 2013

by Aurora Metro Books (London)

This is the novel written courtesy of the Creative Scotland Award I won in 2007. It’s set in Patagonia, South America, between 1905 and 1915, and tells of a French doctor called Matthieu Macanan, a specialist in sexually transmitted diseases, whose reclusive way of life is under threat. He retreats ever further into the wilderness, but all sorts of trouble turns up – not least a beautiful Austrian aviator, and a ship laden with gold.

lucar cover___________________________________________________________

A WRITER’S GUIDE

THE CRAFT OF FICTION

Aber-Publishing, GLMP Ltd, Abergele (Wales) 2011

ISBN : 978-1-84285-104-3

A practical guide to the skills and principles of writing novels and stories. This book forms the basis of the classes in fiction that I teach for St Andrews University and for writers and readers groups elsewhere.

 

craft fiction cover

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A PETITE SERENADE and other stories

Two decades of stories, many of them published and broadcast but collected here for the first time.  Includes “The Morena”, winner of a PEN fiction award and shortlisted for the 2007 BBC National Short Story Prize.

Available as an e-book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.

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RLV front

21 POEMS BY RAMON LOPEZ VELARDE

(translated by JF)

See the individual page about these poems, above.

The collection is available from me or from the publishers, the Bakehouse Arts Centre, at Gatehouse-of-Fleet

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 poppies first cover

BLUE POPPIES

 

11:9 Books (Neil Wilson Publishing), Glasgow UK 2001
ISBN : 1-903238-5-52
Other editions: Editions Heleniki (Nikas Books, Greece) 2002;  Bantam Dell (New York) 2003; LIKE Books (Finland) 2005.
Now also available as an e-book.
Blue Poppies is set in Tibet in 1949-50.  Jamie Wilson, a young Scottish radio operator, is hired by the Tibetan government to set up a listening post in a remote on the Tibetan-Chinese frontier. There he meets Puton, a young woman who has been crippled during a murderous attack on her husband. The love that develops between Jamie and Puton is violently interrupted by the Chinese invasion. As the villagers flee, Jamie travels with them but Puton is left behind…
The book is based in part on Robert Ford’s memoir ‘Captured in Tibet’ (1957), and also on Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘Troilus and Criseyde’ (c.1370).  Other sources include Jamyang Norbu and Sven Hedin.
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 Poor Mercy coverAlso in electronic format from the original publishers:

POOR MERCY

Polygon Books (Birlinn), Edinburgh UK, 2005.
ISBN : 1-904598-28-5
Poor Mercy is based on JF’s experiences working with a British aid team in Darfur, Western Sudan, in 1991. The novel centres on two Sudanese working for such a team. Mr Mogga is a refugee from the south of the country. Always the misfit in Darfur, he nonetheless makes himself indispensible to the Europeans through his competence and his dogged good humour. Leila is a Khartoum-trained biologist whose family is in trouble with the security services. The tender and often comical relationship between the two is set against a rapidly worsening political situation. Meanwhile, the team leader, Xavier, must confront the dilemma that faces all aid workers: is the relief team’s very presence not in fact making matters even worse?
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Glenfarron cover

GLENFARRON

Two Ravens Press, Ullapool UK,  September 2008.

ISBN : 978-1906120337

Glenfarron is set in a remote area of the Scottish Highlands, and concerns the fortunes of three generations of incomers: Polish aircrew at a military hospital in the 1940s; young Glaswegians inheriting property in the 1970s; and African diplomats in 2006.

The three sections are in markedly contrasted styles: a tragic romance, a psychological haunting, and a comedy of post-colonial hangovers. But many of the characters reappear in all three, as do the locations and the themes: property and theft, the strange effects of cultural collision, the ways we use memory, and love between the mismatched.
 
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ETHNOGRAPHY
true love cover

TRUE LOVE & BARTHOLOMEW : REBELS ON THE BURMESE BORDER

Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK, 1991
ISBN : 0-521-39920-3
In 1986-7, JF spent an illegal year with the Karen, a large ethnic group fighting for their independence in the jungles of Burma. He was there to help with training village paramedics.  This unusual study is a full-length ‘portrait of an ancient culture remade for ethnic rebellion’, and includes chapters on Karen food, love and marriage, warfare, religion, music, language and other topics. It is illustrated with photos by JF.
The book was originally a CUP hardback, and is now reissued in a digitally printed paperback at a relatively sensible price.
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A MEMOIR
Luck of Devil
LUCK OF THE DEVIL – FLYING SWORDFISH IN WW2 
My father, Robert Le Page, started life in an impoverished household in south east London, and ended his career as a distinguished sociolinguist at York University.  In between there came a transformative experience in the Fleet Air Arm flying against submarines in the North Atlantic and with the Arctic convoys. In late life he wrote this memoir which I have combined with additional material from letters and conversations. It’s a rather unusual story.
Published by Pen & Sword Books, Barnsley

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