Beginning 8:00am in California, on April 24, and continuing until 8:00am in California, April 30, you can purchase my novel The Language of Bears for the almost non-existent price of NINETY-NINE CENTS (American). Now is your chance to own your very own digital copy of the novel about which Kirkus Reviews opined:
The book is a smart, literate, odd, and skillfully written tour de force filled with biblical, mythical, and cultural allusions. Peopled with a cast of wonderfully quirky characters, the plot takes a number of surprising and singular twists while referencing everything from Greek mythology and King Arthur to A.A. Milne’s gloomy donkey, Eeyore. In addition, Eidswick displays a brilliant command of dialogue, and his prose is poetic and filled with striking imagery: “The night sky was spotted with clouds, luminous bruises spread over the stars.” Strange, funny, and poignant, the story deftly wields this eccentric parable to examine a variety of philosophical, religious, and existential questions, such as the dichotomy between deeming the world as evil and worthy of punishment versus viewing life as a demonstration of God’s goodness. Witty, serious, and original, this stunning tale should attract anyone who delights in an intellectually stimulating read.
In other words, it reads good!
Below is an excerpt from the chapter “This Dog,” in which Virginia Baker, who is at the church about to get married, finds out that her to-be husband, the sinister George Broke, has tricked her into marrying him and was responsible, apparently, for death of her previous fiance, Adam Green. When we had least seen Adam a few months before, he had been locked into a pillary naked and left by Broke to die in the snow, and everyone in the frontier town believes he is dead. The reader knows that he had managed to escape the pillory (with the help of a seemingly intelligent mouse) and flee into the forest, where, in the iconography of the fantasy, no person can survive because of its population of monster bears. Dorothy is ripped apart by the news and doesn’t want to marry Broke, but she feels she must because she also knows Broke will kill her father if she doesn’t.
Dorothy had been listening through the door for the moment the reverend asked for the groom, for this was the signal for Virginia to go out the back door, come round the building, and enter through the front. Given the urgency of timing, she expected Virginia to bound along with her to the front. Instead, Virginia moved slowly, her head bowed.
“Virginia, we must hurry. Why are you moving like a snail?”
Virginia forced herself to smile. “Don’t worry. I’m coming.”
The front door was propped open by a wedge of wood. People were on the porch, straining their necks to get a look through the windows. Through the glass Virginia could see George Broke midway up his walk to the front.
She turned toward Dorothy, who was watching him too, a smile on her face.
“Promise me something.”
“What, my child?”
“That no matter what happens, you won’t hate me. That you will try your best to understand.”
“Virginia, what on Earth are you saying? A fine time to start talking nonsense.”
Virginia opened her mouth to speak, thought better of it. It was done. She was determined that in only a few hours, after the marriage was secure and her father safe from harm, she could do it with a clear conscience. What was the best way? A rope? A leap from the building? God would show her the way when it was time.
“It’s time,” said Dorothy, nudging her. She heard the reverend calling, “where’s the bride?”
Virginia took one step, then another, and it was easy after that, walking in a dream, a sea of faces gawking at her. She cringed a little when she saw her future husband waiting at the altar, grinning.
From all directions disjointed sounds washed against her. Children giggled and a woman was issuing an eerie, staccato laugh. The reverend crooked his finger at her, a strained smile on his face. Someone was clapping, but the noise was deformed, harsh, iron on wood, like horse hooves.
She was really here. The slinking fabric chill of the wedding dress on her shoulders, the groom at her side, handsome, every bit the gentleman. Straight teeth. Grey eyes, sinking into her. The reverend was saying something.
“Do you accept George Broke as your husband?”
She wiped her hand across her lips. “I don’t think so.”
Virginia was shocked. She hadn’t spoken a word, but there her words were, in the open, the precise substance of her thoughts. It was like her mind had found a way to speak aloud when her lips refused to part.
“I don’t think so at all.” She spun around, because it wasn’t her voice.
Virginia’s body went numb.
A few feet away stood Adam Green.
“She’ll never marry this dog.”
For a ghost, Adam appeared healthy. He was dressed in a long leather coat. His hair was longer and wilder, and he’d grown a beard. The sun seemed to have tanned him a dark brown, and he possessed an animal confidence he’d lacked when alive.
He held a long, thick stick. He whacked it on one of the benches. “No, sir!” he shouted. “Don’t think so.”
Virginia was petrified to see the ghoul coming closer. For one dizzy moment she was sure this was the moment of death God had sent for her. A second later, she was looking into the face of her Adam, very much alive, the boy she’d loved since childhood. His gaze fell upon hers and remained, searching. Then he saw and smiled. “Do you take him for your husband, Ginnie?”
Virginia shook her head and Adam had her by the hand, pulling her to the door. George Broke, at first paralyzed like the others, found his voice. “Hey!” He began to run after the couple. “Stop!”
To which Adam whirled around and jabbed the stick into George’s belly. He brought the stick up and whacked him under his chin, then lifted him in the air and tossed him with a cracking swipe to his ankles.
George lay on the ground moaning. Adam spit on him. “Another day, Mayor Broke.”
By the time the bravest of the crowd peeked their heads outside, the couple was gone.
The only thing remaining was the swelling cloud of dust kicked up by the horses they’d escaped on, obscuring the direction they’d gone.