Puzzled that I’d spend my time doing this, people will ask, ‘How long have you been writing?’ Part accusation, part sincere inquiry, it deserves consideration. The truest answer I have—and it’s not a wise guy answer—is always. I say ‘truest’ because of the stages leading up to my present output: two published novels; two mid-grade … Continue reading Always
Today I finished my fifth novel. Tomorrow, it will be a gift for my son on his eighth birthday. I await the sense of release, the great pocket of freedom that opens up when a large file is deleted. Last December a man walked into the SweetLife Cafe wearing nothing at all but his socks. … Continue reading Reader Wanted
Two weeks ago (yes...) I visited my son's second grade class. I read to them from my current work in progress, a novel soon to be presented IHO Mohan's eighth birthday. Before I finished the hands were up and all the mouths were saying 'Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!' They had plans for my principal foil, a … Continue reading Can He also Ride a Porcupine?
Among the 53 titles compiled in this Month's Foreign Service Journal is Dan Whitman's Answer Coming Soon. Whatever else it provides to those who read it, Answer undeniably will provide this: a reflection on the power of books. The power is especially profound for those who spend their lives in places where electricity can be spotty … Continue reading Walden in Africa & Other Diplomatic Readings
The air and leaves outside turn to fall. In the week ahead we'll celebrate Rosh Hashanah, Navrathri, and the official start of Autumn. I'll hold the first book discussion for my debut novel, 18 months old already. My Foreign Service colleagues and I will start the annual ritual of progress into new jobs, new countries, … Continue reading The Paneless Window Washer
America's next gun massacre is inevitable.
Paul Theroux's voice in black and white, on the page, captivated me from the start: natural, authoritative, transferring all kinds of observation from the most minute cultural idiosyncrasy to the cruelest cut at character---fictional or real. I started reading him 20 years ago with My Secret History. Until today, I'd known Theroux only through text … Continue reading Voice
The latest release from ex-Foreign Service Officer Peter Van Buren, author of controversial Iraq reconstruction expose We Meant Well, is set during World War Two. We may find ourselves in 1940s Japan, but Hooper’s War aims its barbs dead-center at the contemporary conflagrations in Iraq and Afghanistan. “The men and women in Hooper confront the complex ethical decisions of war, … Continue reading More Foreign Service Fiction
After 20 years on the diplomatic beat ex-Foreign Service Officer Matthew Palmer has released his fourth tradecraft thriller: Enemy of the Good. U.S.–Kyrgyz relations are at a critical juncture. The U.S. is negotiating the details of a massive airbase that would significantly expand the American footprint in Central Asia, tipping the scale in “the Great Game” … Continue reading New Foreign Service Fiction
Stephen King reviews Paul Theroux's new novel, Mother Land at the New York Times this week (PeaceCorpsWorldwide brought it to my attention). King gives voice to the love-hate relationship so many readers have with the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, novelist and travel writer, whose prolific career spans nearly six decades and whose vicious pen reaches the furthest places on the … Continue reading Mother Land: A Review for Mothers Day