Work in Progress

Ivory Black

A novel, under review for publication

It is 2005, and Dick Rayburn returns home from a hospital, with a deformed face and a limp, to his angry wife, Valerie. Their children, Julia and Jamie, have left home, and Dick and Valerie live alone in the house in Bethesda. Around Dick’s tense conversations with Valerie, the narrative weaves memories triggered by objects in the house. Dick's self-portrait hanging on a wall draws him back to his boyhood and the studio of his father, who trained Dick to be an artist. An article in the New York Times, by the journalist to whom Dick was engaged when the two of them were left-wing graduate students, resurrects the person he was and the woman he loved. The view of the couch in the living room brings back the night Dick and Valerie returned home, after watching Julia perform in a high-school production of All My Sons, and Valerie, troubled by the death of the son in the play, sat on the couch and held Jamie close to her. Later that evening, Dick, who has become a war profiteer, sat on the same couch, with Jamie next to him, and together they watched televised footage of American missiles exploding in Baghdad and dramatizing the first day of the Iraq War.   

Memories haunt Dick, and to deal with them he returns to his childhood passion of painting. He paints the loved ones he has lost, the person he feels he has become, and what he saw one day in Fallujah. The images emerge from a deep, dark, luminous background, the principal ingredient of which is ivory black.

The Gravity of Love

A novel-in-progress

I will post a synopsis of The Gravity of Love when I have completed a first draft, toward the end of 2017.





Brian Duren