Spotlight: Love the Dark Days, by Ira Mathur

love the dark days

Love the Dark Days

Love the Dark Days
by Ira Mathur
Genre: Memoir

This frank, fearless and multi-layered debut centers on a privileged but dysfunctional Indian family, with themes of empire, migration, race, and gender. The Victorian India elephant in the room in Ira Mathur’s silk-swathed memoir Love The Dark Days is in chains. By the time calypso replaces the Raj in post-colonial Trinidad, the chains are off three generations of daughters and mothers in a family in their New World exile. But they are still stuck in place and enduring insecurity and threats, seen and unseen. Set in India, England, Trinidad and a weekend in St Lucia, with Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott Love the Dark Days follows the story of a girl, Poppet, of mixed middle-class Hindu and Elite Muslim parentage from post-independent India to her family’s migration to post-colonial Trinidad. Profoundly raw, unflinching, layered, but not without threads of humour and perceived absurdity, Love the Dark Days reassembles the story of a disintegrating Empire.

Available at Peepal Tree Press, Amazon UK and Amazon US


Advance Praise

“Glorious writing full of hard-won wisdom. A transcendent memoir about extremes of love and hate, princely wealth and the rebellious, righteous poor. I loved it.” —Maggie gee

“Moving from pre-Independence India to Trinidad and London, we see the growing pains of the author, as she decodes her rela-tionships with her glamorous parents, her beautiful piano-playing authoritative grandmother and her two siblings. In a world between poverty and privilege, she is guided by Derek Walcott and Naipaul is ever-present. Ultimately, she has to find her own voice, her own truth and reconciliation. A window into a world, rich in history, that few know about. A compelling read.”—Shrabani baSu

“A blaze of a book, a Caribbean feminist memoir that examines inherited patriarchal abuse of women and societal norms brought from the Old World to the New. This exquisitely written memoir examines familial love and fateful blood ties while scrutinising, with compassion, a flawed patriarch and magus too, Derek Walcott. Mathur deftly yokes together parallel worlds, colonial India and post-colonial Trinidad. Both worlds are dark, and both worlds hurt women.” —Monique roffey

“Mathur brings alive startling episodes from her technicolour life, proving truth is not just stranger but often more compelling than fiction. There is a sense of her burning through her days, reckless, raw, passionate at times. For all that, she offers the embers of her life with a rarely found wisdom. An exquisite, compassionate, and necessary book.” —amanda Smyth

“One of the most powerful and exciting new voices in contemporary literature. Love the Dark Days is an extraordinary, multi-lay- ered memoir, drawing threads from the colonial past into a moving, contemporary story of fragile relationships. Ira Mathur is a real find.” —David Haviland

“What marvellous and heartrending crossroads multiplied during the twentieth century. Between east, west, north, and south; many kinds of ancient and untold modes of modern; from ‘man’ and ‘woman’ to vulnerable beings of imagination and heart… Over the years I have witnessed Ira Mathur navigating an all too human writer’s life, I have yearned for her to put something of her beauty, wisdom and pain into print. Here it is. Stranger and more compelling than any fantasy, here we are.”—Vahni (anthony ezekiel) Capildeo

“This brave and inspiring feminist critique of patriarchy and gender oppression has wonderful promise as a biting movie adaptation for the #MeToo era.” —Etan VleSSing, Hollywood Reporter

“I was transported by this gem of a memoir, written over even years by an award-winning, Indian-born journalist, dubbed the “Jon Snow”of Trinidad. Set in her home nation, but also in St Lucia, India and London, it’s a multi-layered ac- count of a woman growing to feminist maturity while grappling with the ongoing traumas that result from her turbulent childhood. With many memorable characters, including her formidable grandmother Burrimummy, it also features Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, who was a mentor of her work. Monique Roffey is spot on when she calls it a “blaze of a book.”—Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller

“A compelling memoir of the binding power of love and the liberating beauty of forgiveness.” —Earl Lovelace


About the Author:

Ira Mathur is an Indian-born Trinidadian award winning multimedia journalist with degrees in Literature, Law and Journalism. She is currently the Trinidad Guardian’s longest-running columnist, and has freelanced for The Guardian (UK) and the BBC. In 2021 Mathur was longlisted for the Bath Novel Award for her unpublished novel Touching Dr Simone. In 2019 Mathur was longlisted for the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize. In 2018 she shortlisted for the Bridport Short Story Prize, the Lorian Hemmingway (short story) and Small Axe Literary Competition. Mathur gained diplomas in creative writing at the University of East Anglia/Guardian.

Ira Mathur

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Book Spotlight & Guest Post: A Child of Szabo, by M.J. Webb

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A Child of Szabo Cover

A Child of Szabo
by M J Webb
Genre: Thriller
Out Now
323 pages
Intended audience 18+

A teenage rebel with a tragic past is on the edge of the abyss. Offered one final chance of redemption by an enigmatic stranger, she is recruited into a secret society of assassins formed by Winston Churchill. She must battle for survival against unknown enemies in a do or die existence to become the best. Only then can she take out those who killed her family. Those who are now trying to kill her.

Should appeal to fans of Lee Child, Mark Greaney or Tom Cain.

It is exciting, thought-provoking and realistic. Consequently, there are the occasional swear words (especially when she undergoes SAS E and E training, firefights, torture…..). It has an immensely tough female anti-hero and she pulls no punches.

Goodreads / Amazon


Excerpt:

‘She studied the face in the mirror for a good half hour. Scarcely recognised the individual staring back at her. Wondered how much truly remained of the person she was. The turbulent existence, the traumas, the wear and tear, the physical injuries and mental scars… all left indelible marks over time on people like her. They warned her of that from the very outset. Baggage, they called it, because you carry it with you wherever you go. Some bags were heavier than others. Too heavy. Most eventually broke under the enormous strain, succumbed to the inevitable and just burned out. Or ended things in the only way they knew for sure was permanent, removed any variables in favour of a dead cert, you might say.

Humans are frail creatures.’


Praise:

These books are easy reading, penned for anyone above the age of twelve who has a little imagination.

In September 2022 A Child of Szabo was published. This is a high octane adult thriller which will grip you from the very start. It’s a little bit different and routed in British history.


Guest Post:

A Child of Szabo is my fourth novel. It follows on almost ten years after the publication of my first novel in the Jake West Trilogy, which was relatively successful. Why did it take me ten years therefore to write again? Part of it was work. It is a HUGE commitment writing a novel when you work full time and have a family/other interests. It was also a sense that I did not want to write for writing’s sake. I was waiting for an idea which really enthused me. A project I believed in and couldn’t wait to explore. Something different, you know?

I had been encouraged to write again by fans of Jake West and friends of my own. I was kicking an idea around in my head for some time and then I verbalised my thoughts to another good friend, John Dunning. J.D.’s enthusiasm was infectious and the main reason this novel saw the light of day. From the very first jottings I became engrossed in the whole experience. It rekindled a passion in me which lay dormant for a while.

I wanted to write a novel which was basically non-stop action. All thriller no filler as they say. I like to think I succeeded. Something happens in almost every chapter which moves the story on at a pace rarely seen.

The novel is a work of fiction. However, there are elements which hopefully will have the reader thinking, ‘What if…?’

The future? I genuinely do not know. I’d like to see what others make of this novel I think. I am in full time employment so there is no pressure and I am able to choose what, when and how I write. I just know that I enjoy the whole process and I love the idea that, on the other side of the planet, someone is reading and hopefully enjoying my work.


Also by M.J. Webb

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The story tells of two ordinary boys who unlock by accident a deadly secret which threatens to destroy us all. Hunted across worlds the teenagers escape to a fantasy land. There, our intrepid heroes will have to rely on each other and the alliances they make in order to survive against the overwhelming forces of evil who now seek their destruction. The exciting novels contain heroes in abundance, battles, wizards, dragons, spirits, warriors and beasts, the undead, prophecies… and just plain human guts and determination. There are strong themes of loyalty and friendship. These are books all parents will want their children to read and be inspired by.


About the Author:

mj webb
M.J. Webb lives and works in the heart of England. A short while after the birth of his two children he found himself wanting to do something for them. To give them something from him they could hopefully be proud of. Something which would inspire them in times of need, comfort them in times of sorrow and enthuse them as they navigate their way through adolescence and adulthood.
The Jake West Trilogy was the result. He intended to pen just one novel, maybe two (one for each child) but in the end, the tale simply took on a life of its own and evolved into a real epic. There are wizards, dragons, an army of the living dead, different species of warriors, spirits, Gods….

M.J. Webb is also an avid reader. He reads historical fiction, fantasy, young adult novels, military and thriller/adventure stories mainly. He is active on Goodreads. Writing is a passion started and fuelled by his love of reading books. The feel of that page turning is something wondrous for him. His favourite authors are John Gwynne, Stieg Larson, Lee Child and Conn Iggulden. Names which highlight the diversity in his library.

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Spotlight & Excerpt: The Prism Effect, by J. Wint

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To celebrate the release of the second instalment in The Skylight Series by author J. Wint, we’re going back to where the adventure began with The Prism Effect! Read on for more details!

The Prism Effect MIDJOURNEY EBOOK

The Prism Affect
(The Skylight Series #1)
by J. Wint
Publication Date: September 2021
Genre: YA Fantasy/ Sci-Fi

LIFE has never been easy for young Jet Stroud.

He is affected by a rare condition known as ephebus mortem, also called the youthful death, and legend says it will kill him before his twenty-fourth birthday. To make matters worse, the legend also claims that its victims become delusional as they grow older.

However, things take a turn for the better when he is unexpectedly accepted into the renowned Skylight University–an orbiting system in the Earth’s atmosphere. At first, he doubts the legend and begins the semester hoping to learn more about his strange disease. As the school year unfolds, he meets a group of students like him and they band together. Soon, strange things start to happen–mysterious shadows follow them, bizarre holographic prophecies appear that only they can see, and haunting voices cloud Jet’s thoughts. He begins to struggle on the blaze pitch and with his studies. The small group of students threaten to splinter apart as the semester races to a close and Jet wonders if he will survive. In the end, he uncovers something about himself so profound that it will change his life forever.


Excerpt

“Jet?” she asked. “Everything okay?”

He didn’t respond, still gazing in the direction of the fountain. She snapped her fingers in front of his face to gain his attention.

He blinked and looked at her. “Sylvant, over there next to the fountain… do you see it?”

It was the heat mirage again. It shifted around the base of the fountain, blurry and transparent. But it was too cool for a heat mirage, though it looked exactly like the ones he’d seen on hot and humid days.

She glanced in the fountain’s direction while pulling him out of the street. She shook her head. “No, I don’t see anything. Are you sure you’re okay?”

Jet looked at her defensively. “I’m fine, thanks.” He walked towards the fountain with the mirage in his sight. Sylvant followed, the heels of her shoes clicking across the vacant intersection. Jet stepped up to the fountain’s basin for a look around, but the mirage was gone.

“I swear… it was here,” he said.

“What was here? What are you talking about?” she asked.

“There was a… a shape, or something like a mirage here, just now.”

Sylvant cleared her throat. “Why don’t we go inside. We need to talk about this.” She flashed her sister’s journal in front of his face.

Jet hesitated. He wanted to understand what he’d just seen as much as he wanted to hear about the journal.

The shape suddenly reemerged near one of the alleyways, steam momentarily cloaking it. Then, the sunlight dimmed and turned everything a shade of rust.

“There. It’s there!” he hissed at her. “You can’t see that?”

She peered toward the alleyway. “Jet. You’re starting to worry me.”

“You don’t believe me, do you?”

“Jet, I’m trying to understand, but I don’t know what to say.”

“I’m going after it,” Jet said. “I want to prove to you—”

“Whatever it is, let it go!” Sylvant looked down the dark alley and back at him. “We can talk about it inside the café, alright? My first concern is your safety.”

Jet could see the uneasiness in her expression. “Sylvant, I’m asking for your help, not your protection.”

It was growing darker, and an unsettling stillness seemed to descend around them. Sylvant recovered her composure. “As a professor to a student, it’s my responsibility to look after you. You need to come with me.”

Jet watched the mirage move down the alleyway and vanish into the steam. “I can take care of myself. I’ll call you later, Sylvant. I promise.” He sprinted down the alleyway, leaving her behind.

Plumes of steam gushed from the buildings lining the alley and hid the fleeing mirage. The sunlight was nearly gone, making it difficult to see. Jet had to stop a few times to see where he was.

The chase came to an abrupt halt when the alley ended at a brick wall. The mirage was gone. Jet backtracked, looking for signs of it. He noticed a ladder on one building and climbed up three stories and onto the rooftop. He skirted the parapet and stopped to regain his bearings.

The sunlight flickered and dimmed, like someone sliding a gossamer drape in front of it. Jet looked at his watch, surprised to see there should still be half an hour of daylight left. What happened next made the hair on his arms stand up. One of the system’s outer belts crossed slowly in front of the sun, casting a long shadow over the cityscape beyond. The eclipse’s shadow inched eerily across each building, engulfing the city in darkness. Jet had read an article about the event, something called a skylight eclipse.

His skin grew cold as the eclipse overtook him. From the rooftop, he watched the leading edge of it creep doggedly across the pitted field and towards the dimly lit factory in the distance. Fleeing just ahead of the eclipse was the shimmering mirage.

Jet leapt over the building’s parapet and onto an adjacent rooftop. He scrambled across a metal bridge spanning the alleyway and sprinted across the field.

He entered the abandoned factory minutes later and slowed to a halt, kneeling against a storage tank to catch his breath. He could hear equipment running in the distance, which seemed odd since the factory appeared to be vacant. A rust-colored smog from old chemicals still lingered in the air. Rogue weeds grew up through cracked concrete, and above him, a maze of catwalks and pipes cast a kaleidoscope of patterns onto the pavement.

He crept further into the factory, searching for the mirage. The ground below his feet quivered, and the sound of equipment grew louder. Tremors accompanied a dull scraping noise that sounded like metal grinding on metal. Something big moved below the surface. He placed his hand on a storage tank and felt it vibrating rapidly.

Jet followed the thrumming for several minutes before stumbling upon a vast clearing. Rusted sheet metal walls rose up to create a circular pit. Sand and dirt covered the ground, and tumbleweeds piled along one end like skeletal remains. In the center stood an oddly shaped contraption that resembled the smokestack of a ship. Its bow pointed skyward like a steel chimney with steam spewing from it.

An uneasy feeling settled over him as he hid in the shadows. He was in the middle of nowhere and chasing a mirage. It was getting late, and the eclipse had him on edge.

Available on Amazon


About the Author

wint - 1

Wint graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in architecture. He is a licensed architect and LEED accredited professional who believes in a strong, sustainable community. As a student of architecture, he developed a love for design and continues to push for creative solutions.

As a child of the 70’s, he developed a love for cheesy science fiction movies, and later became an avid fantasy reader. His youthful influences—combined with his college experiences and background as an architect—have propelled his work as a writer to create the Skylight Series.

J Wint | Twitter | Facebook


Book Tour Schedule

September 19th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off)

@genoviareadingco (Review)

@takealookatmybookshelf (Review)

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight)

@fle_d (Spotlight)

 September 20th

Bunny’s Reviews (Review)

Reads & Reels (Spotlight)

September 21st

@gryffindorbookishnerd (Review)

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Spotlight)

Sadie’s Spotlight (Spotlight)

September 22nd

@margiebythebookcase (Review)

Book Reviews by Taylor (Review)

Rambling Mads (Spotlight)

September 23rd

@wolfesbooks (Review)

@booklymatters (Review)

Stine Writing (Spotlight)


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