Do me a favor? People have been asking me if there's going to be a Kindle version of my novel. The answer is a firm maybe. It will happen only if the publisher gets the notion that there's a significant demand for an e-book edition. Would you please go to the Amazon page and click on “I'd like to read this book on Kindle”? Thanks!
A few unsolicited reviews have trickled in since last month's publication of Land of Milk and Money. The good news is that they're positive. Right now there are three five-star reviews on Amazon, although one of them appropriately notes that it was written by a friend of mine. (Thanks, buddy!) The other two, however, are by people I have never met and don't know. I have to thank them for taking the time and trouble to post such positive reviews of my book. Muito obrigado!
Here's what Karen Davis of Maryland had to say:
A "read straight through" delight, July 31, 2012Jeffrey W. Hatley then weighed in with the following:
A Wonderful Book, August 6, 2012Nice! How could I possibly quibble with that? (Although I admit that I did correct one misspelling because it's difficult for me to resist such things.)
Short summary: This is the best work of fiction I have read in a very long time, and you should absolutely read it.
The first thing I should mention is that this is not the type of book I would ordinarily read. If I were browsing the book store, I probably would not have been gripped by the book's synopsis on the back cover. I bought this book because I'm a long-time fan of the authors blog, so I was familiar with his skilled writing.
This book greatly exceeded my high expectations.
Written in an episodic fashion, Land of Milk and Money uses short, non-chronological anecdotes to tell the story of several generations of the Francisco family and their dairy farm, as well as the legal battle that ensued when the family matriarch passed away. While this may sound like a slightly confusing way to write a story, it is not; the author uses it masterfully, creating three-dimensional characters and relating several decades-worth of incidents, resulting in a book which is a model of clarity. The author does helpfully include a Cast of Characters in the back of the book, but one quickly learns all of the major players and ceases to need this cheat sheet.
Despite being about a legal battle, Land of Milk and Money is light-hearted, and I often found myself chuckling at Candy's follies, Ms. Onan's ineptness, Jojo's ingenuity, and Paul's pedantry. By the book's conclusion, I had developed an attachment to many of the characters, and I can't help but feel that there are even more wonderful anecdotes that didn't make the cut. While I doubt it's in the making, I would certainly read the sequel!
Land of Milk and Money is an extremely fun read, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Please, read this!
By the way, Jeffrey is completely correct. There were a number of omitted anecdotes. Here's a little list:
The voyage to Brazil
The wearing of the green
If I might have a word
Visit to the University Farm
I want to be a priest
A night at the opera
Want to be a teacher?
Walking past the church
The Einsteinian cow
All but the last of these episodes were written up and included in the manuscript at one point or another. The first one, The voyage to Brazil, was published on-line at the Comunidades site early last year while the manuscript was still under consideration at Tagus Press. During the editing process, the segment was flagged for its comparative length and for being too much of a distraction from the main plot. I had to (reluctantly) agree.
“The wearing of the green” is based on an old blog post from 2005. The time of red and green amused me enough to want to recycle it, but my editor deemed it peripheral to the plot. As he noted in an initial reading of the manuscript, “the story of Paul's evolution from child prodigy to mathematician is well-enough told and does present a focal point for an alternative assimilation narrative, [but] I'm not altogether persuaded it fully coheres with the rest of the book.”
Yeah, busted! He singled out several of the more autobiographical segments and recommended them for deletion. Of the ten deleted titles above, I see that fully seven of them were episodes of this kind.
What will I do with all of the chunks of text left over from the manuscript's slimming process? I don't know. While most of them don't stand alone very well, neither do they form a coherent whole. Perhaps they are fated to go into literature's dustbin. Although crowded, I'm sure the literary waste receptacle can make room for these leavings. And who knows? With a little bit of patience, they might eventually be reunited with the anecdotes that survived the winnowing process, but ... on the shelf or in the dustbin?