Current books

Kai Kawiti, actor, political activist and womaniser, dies. Two tribes fight over his body and legacy, and many people are pulled into that struggle, changing their lives and their minds.
Falling Angels is a story of death, ruthless tribal politics, oratory, police corruption, robbery on a train, the obligations of friends and lovers, and the building of families. And betrayal, sex and love.

Frank Harris, adventurer, literary man and liar, tells his son why Oscar Wilde never escaped to France before his arrest, and how the inmates of a London child sex brothel were rescued. And of the conception of his son.

Many of Victorian London’s literary lions appear, including Oscar, Charles “Lewis Carroll” Dodgson, Ellen Terry, the young Aleister Crowley, with Zhou Ch’en, widow of a great Chinese General. London’s underworld is dangerous and cruel.

      Meet that Alan Whelan! Gasp at his other projects!


whelan

Alan Whelan

Can hold his breath for 97 seconds.
It’s harder than it seems.

Here’s where writers say they’ve knocked around a bit. So Alan Whelan says, truthfully, he’s been a probation officer, a house painter, a tenants’ union organiser, factory worker, a political activist, sexual therapist, builder’s labourer, PR hack, farm hand, writer, editor and researcher. He’s driven forklifts in a fruit market and written policy and legislation for governments. He once had a job sexing chickens, which is less criminal than it sounds.

 

He believes in clarity. He is not “in love with words”. If you read one of his sentences and you don’t know what it means, or a page and you don’t know what just happened, it means he’s written it badly.

 

A principle: the struggle between people who mean well and are trying to do the right thing is more real, also more interesting, than struggles between “good” and “evil”.

 

The wagner myth

A look at the political views of the composer Richard Wagner, an antisemite who was also a pacifist who despised German militarism, an anti-imperialist and an anti-racist who admired Lincoln for ending slavery in the US.

Explores why senior Nazis found Wagner’s character and views embarrassing, and why performances of his works fell sharply once the Nazis got into power.

Also traces how the myth of Wagner the proto-Nazi arose.

A short book (about 150 pages) on the etiology of bullshit.

harris in the wild west

The second volume of Frank Harris’s adventures.

Harris rides the trail with his friend Buffalo Bill and his lover Lola Montez. Originally planned as a nostalgic journey, by Buffalo Bill, Harris accidentally annoys members of a religious cult. While on the run, he and his friends ruin a plan to establish theocracy in Oregon.

under construction

A third volume of Frank Harris memoirs, a book on the poet and political activist Percy Bysshe Shelley, and a book on the intellectual history of “miscegenation”, a word coined by American pro-slavery activists to problematise inter-racial equality and inter-racial sex.