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Price: US$ 15

A first person narrative - not completely autobiographical - about love and loss.

Peter and Jessica meet at Harvard in 1962 at a time when virginity was at a premium and perhaps most people believed in what they considered their souls that you fall in love once and live together for better and worse forever. Marriages were made in heaven and any major sundering of that "sacred" and "natural" institution left friends, relatives and medical experts shaking their heads and wondering "What went wrong?".

Peter and Jessica fall in love. It could happen to anyone. It happens to them.

He's a poet philosopher trapped in personal and public histories. His own rather triste childhood with a mad mother and just back from the war father and the lingering tragedies of the twentieth century. The Cold War, nuclear threat and the disastrous ecological effects of progress. He's afraid that he and everyone else are like sleep walking and talking characters out of Greek Tragedy and late 19th and early 20th deterministic romans - condemned to perpetually play out the life denying patterns of the past.

Thus he wants to throw bombs at received wisdom - the way things always have been according to the trite but not necessarily true - and rip himself out of his social-psychological fabric and framework. But at the same time he does so want to succeed, whatever that means, and at any cost.

Jessica comes from "a good family", one that is wealthy and for all intents and purposes fortunate and "normal". But just below the glossed over surfaces are numerous, never mentioned skeletons and seething discontent. She sees in Peter someone wild and real and a chance to escape from a buttoned down world view where secrets - not mysteries - are piled up for generations and the reigning policy is that it's best not to have any rocking the boat emotions. But if you absolutely must, keep them to yourself.

They're in love, share the same dreams and are happy together. More or less and for a while. But eventually the differences overshadow and outweigh the similarities and there's a falling out. It could happen to anyone. It happens to them. And when it does Peter falls and keeps on falling and begins the life of a Dostoevskian "underground man" among the bums, lunatics and street people of 1970's New York.

That's more or less the plot. But it also turns on many themes that have, and in my opinion, should concern many if not all of us. Such as the often blurry borders between true love and true lust. Especially in the heat of battle. What Christian theologians used to call agape and eros (porné). The differences between knowledge and knowing, existence and being, and character and personality (psyche) and soul (psyche), from whence our word "psychology comes".

The nature of the "I", the epicenter of so much demand and conflict.

And more encompassing and morally tinged issues. Such as, are we fatally flawed "creatures", "lesser angels", born in minor variations of "original sin" - as Sts. Paul, Augustine and Freud would have it – and doomed to eternally whirl in vicious biological-sociological-psychological circles of attraction and repulsion, love and hate, for and against, action and reaction?

Or is there a way out of that toxic inheritance? Are we not also beings of light and capable of rising to levels more open and expansive? Not in lala, once upon a time and wouldn't it be nice land. But as something that can and actually does happen to ordinary people and more often than most believe possible.

If so, how do we get to one phase from the other?


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