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BIBLIOGRIND

Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Quora.com response & respondents

The question, once again, was

Since I got a few light-weight answers describing too much reality, I decided to answer the question myself:

I don’t think fantasy and reality are diametric opposites; any fantasy has some elements of reality; and, often enough, some reality has elements of fantasy. Dreams use real places, places and people you know; just as well, during the 9–11 attacks I was working on Manhattan, and at around noon I began walking up 5th Avenue — right up the center of the street — which is usually packed with cars but had become a pedestrian zone, more or less. The entire mid-town area resembled a movie set. Talk about fantasy meeting reality and taking over!

Otherwise, as a novelist, I am so steeped in “the make believe” on a daily basis that, quite frankly and with no apologies, except for the reality time I spend with my wife, I don’t care if the building I’ve just left falls down behind me; in the grand scheme of time and dis-obligation, it and me and “we all” simply don’t matter. But literature and its characters live on.

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My newest novel is MAX, THE BLIND GUY and is available at Amazon and your neighborhood bookstore chain.  A story rife with modern perils – too much time, too much money, just enough libido, secrets revealed – Max and Greta Ruth don’t wait for what the future may bring.

“The Brooklyn Follies” by Paul Auster

The “follies” Auster refers to are those human foibles that “Uncle Nathan” has witness, heard of, or otherwise committed himself throughout his life. He’s nearing sixty, is in cancer remission, and newly divorced from his wife and estranged from his only daughter. But Nathan has a healthy attitude towards life, and the follies which he is compiling get a boost as the story of Nathan and his nephew, Tom, as their lives suddenly become intertwined.

The story moves quickly, and pleasantly. This is not a typical Auster novel, his deep intrigue and illusory themes/characters/endings. All that you read in THE BROOKLYN FOLLIES is exactly is what’s on the page. I wasn’t disappointed, but hadn’t expected such a light read from Auster. If you’re on the beach, in a car, out back on the hammock, it’s a good read.

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My new novel is now on sale: “Max, the blind guy” is the story of Max and Greta Ruth, their 40-year relationship, and all the demons that show up as they find that life rarely goes according to plan. This book is available in print at Amazon.com and the digital edition is available as a serialized novel — 12 parts, published every fourth week. Come by MarkBeyer : Author to read an excerpt that you won’t find at on-line bookshops.

What Beauty was published in 2012. It’s a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.

BLEAK HOUSE by Charles Dickens, worth the two months’ commitment!

I began BLEAK HOUSE back on April 6th, and finished it this morning over coffee. It’s a book of wonderful noise and beauty. The characters will stay in my memory the rest of my days. The images (with just a bit of help from Phiz’s illustrations) are a reader’s friend and a writer’s “how-to” guide. Beyond each of these, the long-long-long story held my attention throughout.bleakhouse

Dickens wrote the book over 20 months, publishing each monthly installment (the last being a double issue) in his own magazine. The installments ran about three chapters each, and end in some dramatic way. Hollywood has nothing on Dickens; perhaps they learned through him!

What struck me most as I read daily was the patient and intricate way Dickens exposed his characters. You immediately know something unusual about a person (a facial tic; a manner of dress; a gesture of hands, fingers, eyes; a repetitive speaking tic), which then blossoms into the full human being, whereby each petal represents a part of his or her life.

bleak_house3My favorite character was Mr Bucket, a detective with the Metropolitan Police, who, despite the “low” position he has in Victorian society, proved himself to be a humane man and dutiful copper. My least favorite was Richard, a ward of the court through the Jarndyce v. Jarndyce case that “ignites” and “consumes” the bulk of the story, in one way or another. Richard proved foolish and allowed his passion for “justice” to drag him into the mire that was Chancery case law. Naturally, this was Dickens’s intent, and there is a moral to the story.

In fact, there are all kinds of morals set within BLEAK HOUSE. It’s an encyclopedia of Asopian learning: beware poverty; know your place; work hard and reward comes to you; etc…etc…etc.

The novel’s length can be off-putting; so too, but infrequently, the language of characters and their mannered (or ill-mannered) approach to life. However, my advice is to buy a nice hardcover edition w/illustrations, and take your time. For me (who is still getting used to reading e-books) this book should not be read digitally. It has honor to it, and history.

As a writer (and teacher of mentor to fiction writers), I must say that this book (and other of Dickens’s books) is a fabulous primer on how to tell story, develop characters, manage plot, mix narrative and dialogue, and even end the story with drama that is fulfilling.

Happy reading!

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My new novel has just been published: “Max, the blind guy” is the story of Max and Greta Ruth, their 40-year relationship, and all the demons that show up as they find that life rarely goes according to plan. This book is available in print at Amazon.com. On June 12, 2015 the digital edition will begin publishing in 12 monthly installments. Come by MarkBeyer : Author and read an excerpt that you won’t find at on-line bookshops.

What Beauty was published in 2012. It’s a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.

Six Days until “Max, the blind guy” goes on sale…

“Max, the blind guy” is my third novel. It lives in the present and 40 years of a marriage between Maximilian Ruth and his betrayed wife, Greta. There’s sex in this book. There is love in this book. There is also a healthy amount of travel and infidelity and betrayal.

Click on the book cover to read an excerpt you can’t find at online bookshops:

MaxCOVER

June 5, 2015 is the on-sale date for this new book in a print edition. June 12th is the date on which “Max, the blind guy” begins its ebook sales as a serialized novel, with installments available monthly for 12 months. I’ve done this for readers who are otherwise busy and want just enough “tale” for a week or two.

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What Beauty was published in 2012. It’s a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.

My newest novel is “Max, the blind guy” — the story of Max and Greta Ruth, their 40-year relationship, and all the demons that show up as they find that life rarely goes according to plan. This new novel will be published on June 5, 2015 from Siren & Muse Publishing.

Max, the blind guy … #coverreveal

Max, the blind guy comes out June 5th in a 564-page, 6×9 edition, for those who want a book-in-the-hands.

MaxCOVER

 

Here’s a sneak look at page 69:

“Look!” Max meant to follow my finger, but he looked at my bare arm first, holding its shaking tautness in focus. I could see him forming a smile, and he pressed it down and followed along my arm, up to the wrist, and past the arrow-sharp fingertip. All so casually, even a touch of arrogance. I thought to put a scare into him that would make him turn white if he had any brains. “If
Mrs Much comes up here, you can say ‘bye-bye’ to hanging your paintings in Camps House. She’s strict.”
“Oh, that I’ve seen,” he agreed, still with a casualness I didn’t like. He pinched the ash end of the cigarette, slowly crushing the ember until it was cold to his touch. He showed it to me. Very cool, he was, for someone about to be thrown out on his ass.
“Don’t be an idiot,” I said. “Rules are rules.”
“I didn’t know the rules. Tell me the rules.” He gave me a pleading look. All I could do was fume at him. He tried again. “Please?”
“I just caught two kids necking upstairs, which is bad enough,” I explained. “If Mrs Much were to catch me up here with you–”
“But we aren’t necking,” he replied in a fast, city-boy way. Then he shot me a wink. “Or have I missed something? I must have inhaled too heavily and I have memory loss.” A fake frown pulled at his eyebrows. “Where did this happen, if I may ask, just in case Mrs Much interro–”
“Will you shut up!” I breathed at him like an angry bull, then walked to the door to peek into the hallway.

The story of Max and Greta Ruth is an American story, set in foreign lands: Prague, Vienna, Salzburg, Venice. Desire never ends, but for whom the desire is aimed makes all the difference. This story grew from a recognition on a Prague street-corner.

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What Beauty was published in 2012. It’s a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.

My newest novel is “Max, the blind guy” — the story of Max and Greta Ruth, their 40-year relationship, and all the demons that show up as they find that life rarely goes according to plan. This new novel will be published on June 5, 2015 from Siren & Muse Publishing.

Serialized Novel: MAX, THE BLIND GUY

News … MAX, THE BLIND GUY will be released in digital format as a serialized novel, beginning one week after the launch of the in-full print edition (June 5, 2015).

I made this decision a few weeks ago, after reading Hillary Kelly’s opinion essay in the Washington Post’s April 24th issue. I had toyed with this idea years ago (the year 2007 seeps into my mind), and went so far as to contact several magazines with the idea; I received just two responses (Harper’s and The Atlantic) who disagreed with my assessment, and prediction.

However, I agree with Ms Kelly: reading must become more accessible to readers, who, often enough, find themselves too busy to sit down with a long book (i.e., THE NOVEL). What’s more, there is a certain intimidation, these days, that novels put upon readers whose time is otherwise separated between family, friends, work, travel, and entertainment itself.

Bearing this in mind, I believe today’s readers and the market have opened a ripe opportunity to bring back story serialization. Dickens proved its viability from the 1840s, and thereafter Thackery, Wilkie Collins, even Conan Doyle, serialized their works, which we still read today. Magazines thrived with serialization; people had the chance to read extended stories (with many characters) in short installments. They came to anticipate the next “chapter.” The business & pleasure of offering stories to the wider public enjoyed a wonderful relationship!

Does this sound familiar? Of course! On television today, we watch “the long form” with such delight as is found in “House of Cards” and “Better Call Saul” and “Bates Motel” to name a few. And this is where novel serialization can step in, for the readers and the TV viewers. The printed word is yet strong, and short(er) chapters that pull you in and keep you “tuned” to the story is all that we ask for in our entertainment.

On June 12, 2015, the first installment of “Max, the blind guy” is going to be available for the Kindle, Kobe, and other formats. Twelve monthly installments, at a cost not to exceed the price of the full print edition (on sale June 5th).

“Stay tuned” for more news. Oh, for that original WashPost OpEd, read it here.

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My newest novel is “Max, the blind guy” — the story of Max and Greta Ruth, their 40-year relationship, and all the demons that show up as they find that life rarely goes according to plan. This new novel will be published on June 5, 2015 from Siren & Muse Publishing.

What Beauty was published in 2012. It’s a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.

The first “blurb” is in for … Max, the blind guy

Here’s the first blurb for my newest novel, Max, the blind guy, by Patricia Ann McNair, author, THE TEMPLE OF AIR …

Precocious. Provocative. Poignant. Mark Beyer’s massive novel “Max, the blind guy” is built like an intricate mansion of dozens of opulently adorned rooms and secret passageways and windows and doors that open up to the bright and vibrant world beyond. Told through multiple points of view, the story explores the delights, disappointments, disturbances, and distractions of love, lust, and the desire to get to the next place. Language play, humor, despair, and the engagement of a complicated community of characters, Mark Beyer’s “Max, the blind guy” brings to mind the work of his literary predecessors such as Nabokov, Marquez, Dickens, and Dostoevsky. Good company. Good reading.

Thank you, Patty. I’ll use this sparingly, but to great advantage. Good luck with your new novel. And, readers, check out McNair’s The Temple of Air.

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My newest novel is “Max, the blind guy” — the story of Max and Greta Ruth, their 40-year relationship, and all the demons that show up as they find that life rarely goes according to plan. This new novel will be published on June 5, 2015 from Siren & Muse Publishing.

What Beauty was published in 2012. It’s a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.

Books Read Lately: Trevor, Robinson, O’Neill

Four books this time, each a unique world of subtle human emotions, intrigue of character, and story that matches this modern world:

Two Lives (“Reading Turgenev” and “My House in Umbria”) by William Trevor

Umbria: Simply amazing. A mystery, put inside a pastoral, wrapped in human illusion. A must read for those who like well-drawn characters but are thoroughly opposed to explosions and anything with fangs.

Turgenev: A fabulous story by a writer whose nuanced prose takes you along like on a cloud (sometimes, then, a thundercloud).

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

I read about author Marilynne Robinson in the LRB, and was intrigued. This short novel of hers is deftly told, strangely compelling, and, ultimately, satisfying to an imaginative minded reader. Two girls are left to the care of their grandmother, who dies shortly; Ruthie and Lucille are then looked after by their aunt, a wanderer, who comes into the teens’ lives with strange habits that make their lives turn over.

Netherland by Joseph O’Neill

Highly unusual tale of “the immigrant life in America” between Brits & Dutch & West Indians. Murder, mystery, life-stories, business-in-America, marriage & all that … this books has everything. And it’s well told.

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My newest novel is “Max, the blind guy” — the story of Max and Greta Ruth, their 40-year relationship, and all the demons that show up as they find that life rarely goes according to plan. This new novel will be published on June 5, 2015.

What Beauty was published in 2012. It’s a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.

Books Read Lately: Gaddis, Eugenides, Fowles

The Recognitions by William Gaddis

Gaddis wrote the story of identity (theft), forgery, and the high price(s) we pay for fame AND obscurity, in 1955. I think, if he were alive today, he’d say things have only gotten worse. The beauty of this novel (all 490,000 words) is how Gaddis has not given anything away; he hardly lets the reader know what’s “going on” in the plot. Yet there are intricately described places, and people; there’s are dozens of pages of non-stop dialogue. This is a fun book that takes the reader into a world of danger, beauty, loveless-love, depression, and unfailing hope.

The Marriage Plot by Jefferey Eugenides

I was disappointed by the start of this book … too cute, and the whiff of commercial story-telling. And then Eugenides’s wit and erudition came out from the curtain wings and played the part I recognized from his previous books. Anyway … the love between college students is a nice flashback; the intellectualizing of affection, of lust, of “the possible.” The interwoven stories of Madeliene and her male suitors is often funny, and terribly real.

The Ebony Tower by John Fowles

This collection of five novellas has art as its link; the way, the why, the how-to, the what-for, and even the why-not? Underlying each is human frailty: in love, work, mind, and body. These are very well written stories, which take you to places, and into the minds of people, whom you have not had the pleasure of meeting before. At least, I wish I had had that pleasure.

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My newest novel is “Max, the blind guy” — the story of Max and Greta Ruth, their 40-year relationship, and all the demons that show up as they find that life rarely goes according to plan. This new novel will be published on June 5, 2015.

What Beauty was published in 2012. It’s a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.

WayBack Machine: reading list from 2014

Under the category “Better Late than Never”, my list of books read for 2014 appears below. The selection is not so random as it may seem (however one goes about selecting a book  or “the next book”). Between finishing one book and beginning the next, I think about differences in tone, characters, theme, setting, mood, and of the course writers. What fascinates me are the possibilities, and the anticipation of beginning a new book:

On Muted Strings by Knut Hamson

Ada, or Ardor by Vladimir Nabokov

The Names by Don DeLillo

Swami and Friends by R.K. Narayan

I, Claudius by Robert Graves

Ratner’s Star by Don DeLillo

The Bachelor of Arts by R.K. Narayan

Rights of Passage by William Golding

The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

The English Teacher by R.K. Narayan

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

Pure by Andrew Miller

A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard

The Gift by Vladimir Nabakov

The Punisher’s Brain by Morris Hoffman

The Book and the Brotherhood by Iris Murdoch

Stoner by John Williams

Canada by Richard Ford

A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Gripless by Sophie Hannah

King Jesus by Robert Graves

Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada

Everyman by Philip Roth

Indignation by Philip Roth

The Humbling by Philip Roth

Nemesis by Philip Roth

The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellbecq

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

The Faithful Executioner by Joel Harrington

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

The Moon and Sixpense by William Somerset Maugham

Tale of the tape: 31 books … 9,794 pages … 4,407,300 words …

Top 3 books: A Death in the Family; The Map and the Territory; Ada, or Ardor

Do you all have lists? Give me some ideas for 2015, please.

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My newest novel is “Max, the blind guy” — the story of Max and Greta Ruth, their 40-year relationship, and all the demons that show up as they find that life rarely goes according to plan. This new novel will be published on June 5, 2015.

What Beauty was published in 2012. It’s a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.

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