Tennessee Willians’s The Glass Menagerie

In Tennessee Willians’s The Glass Menagerie, a domineering mother directs the destinies of the son and daughter, thereby stifling their individualities and aspirations. The theme isn’t fresh but Tennessee Williams, with masterful strokes of his pen, draws forth the drama that tucks the hearts of audience. We feel the tension, the frustration, the struggle, and ultimately the resignation. We sympathize with the children for having to sacrifice their dreams but we also pity the mother for trying to fill the role of the father and to revive a past that no longer exists. The play is humorous, satirical, and ultimately sad.

Kasuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant

Kasuo Ishiguro’s writing is magic. I usually don’t read fantasy fiction, but by creating a mesmerizing dreamscape, he turns a dragon-slaying tale into a contemplation of memory and the nature of humanity. Is the loss of memory the only way to avoid retaliation and vengeance? If we don’t forget, can we ever forgive? Furthermore, the elderly couple as unlikely protagonists in a fantasy story gives to the story repose and warmth that younger heroes couldn’t. Read The Buried Giant for the love between the protagonists. Read it for Ishiguro’s prose, which matches the dreamy milieu.

Release of Leonard Seet’s novel Magnolias in Paradise

Excelsior Publishing will be releasing Leonard Seet’s latest novel Magnolias in Paradise in Fall 2016.

Ernst arrives at the Paradise train station with fifty-thousand dollars to ransom his sweetheart, and while looking among the crowd for the young man with a magnolia, a beggar seizes his bag of cash and escapes through the revolving door. Chasing after the rascal, he slams into his contact--his girlfriend's lover in town. Now, he must beat his love-rival to the money and rescue her before the deadline.

Magnolias in Paradise (252 pp., tpb, $14.95) is a 96,000-word crime novel and the first in a potential series. As in Larry Brown’s Father and Son, good confronts evil in a southern town. And as in Joe R. Lansdale’s Cold in July, an ordinary man gets sucked into a conspiracy, with psychopaths terrorizing a small town and FBI agents going after a corrupt sheriff. In the end, the man must take the law into his hands. But in this case, ending in tragedy. Here, I combined Will Christopher Baer’s surreal settings and mentally unstable villains, with Brian Evenson’s literary minimalism and heroes cursing their knowledge.

Leonard Seet brings his intelligence and wit and gifts as a writer to a broader audience in Magnolias in Paradise in a gritty, realistic novel. He uses a narrative style which brings you the perspective of the players in this grim game of hide-and-seek reminiscent of the narrative technique of As I Lay Dying and Charming Billy… Mainstream audiences will appreciate the intelligence of the narrative of this book in this genre, which is so often short-changed by lesser lights just out to make a buck. Seet has reinvented himself as a writer in his evolution from his deeply rich, engaging and inspirational books about spirituality to the rough ride on the mean streets of Magnolias in Paradise. If you are into this genre, then you’ll definitely be engaged by this novel.” -David Lentz, author, Bloomsday: the Bostoniad

Leonard Seet is the author of the novel Meditation On Space-Time and the non-fiction The Spiritual Life. His articles and short fiction have appeared in the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Banana Writers and Pilcrow & Dagger. He learned the art of writing from Brando Skyhorse and Tim Johnston through George Washington University's Jennie McKean Moore Fiction Workshop, which is by application.

Magnolias in Paradise is available in most brick-and-mortar and online bookstores.