Work in Progress

Ivory Black

A novel, under review for publication

In 2005, after four months in hospitals, Dick Rayburn returns home with a limp, a disfigured face, and pain. Around tense conversations between him and his wife, Valerie, concerning their absent son, Jamie, the narrative weaves memories triggered by objects in the house that Dick regards with the fascination of a man rediscovering himself. An old self-portrait draws him back to his childhood and the studio of his father, who trained Dick to be an artist, while an article critical of the Iraq War, by the journalist to whom he was engaged as a graduate student, resurrects the person he was and the woman he loved. Dick relives his evolution from a child-artist and left-wing student to the war profiteer Valerie blames for Jamie being in Iraq, and cannot stop reliving the day he flew into Fallujah and was shot down as his helicopter the city.

Memories haunt Dick, and to cope with them he returns to his childhood passion of painting. He paints what he saw in Fallujah, the person he feels he has become, and the loved ones he has lost. The images emerge from a deep, dark background, the principal ingredient of which is ivory black. But can painting heal the fractures through which memories flow?

The Gravity of Love

A novel, in search of an agent

THE GRAVITY OF LOVE tells the story of a mother, a son, and a husband and father who has been dead for over twenty years. Having learned she has pancreatic cancer, the mother, Ginny, delays returning home and becomes a missing person to her children and her second husband. Memories of the missing person in her life draw her back to her first husband, and she relives their life, his death, and the madness of her grief that mirrored the depth of her love. For her son, David, the missing person has always been his father, even when he was alive. Memories of the absence of his father’s love, of feeling worthless and hollow, haunt David and draw him back to the home he fled with as much power as the memories of his mother’s love. After Ginny’s death, David resolves to write his story, that of a mother, a father, and a son. Narrated in the first person in four parts, two parts by Ginny and two by David, THE GRAVITY OF LOVE immerses the reader in the inner lives of these characters and in their dreams.

Unnamed: I have begun work on a new novel, for which I do not yet have a title. I expect to have the first draft finished by next spring and will post at that time the title and a synopsis.






Brian Duren