Thursday, March 23, 2023

THE PHANTOM GLARE OF DAY

 


The Phantom Glare of Day

by M. Laszlo


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GENRE: Historical (Metaphysical) Fiction / Coming of Age Fiction


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BLURB:


In this trio of novellas, three game young ladies enter into dangerous liaisons that test each one’s limits and force them to confront the most heartrending issues facing society in the early twentieth century. The Phantom Glare of Day tells of Sophie, a young lady who has lived a sheltered life and consequently has no idea how cruel public-school bullying can be. When she meets Jarvis, a young man obsessed with avenging all those students who delight in his daily debasement, she resolves to intervene before tragedy unfolds. Mouvements Perpรฉtuels tells of Cรคcilia, a young lady shunned by her birth father. She longs for the approval of an older man, so when her ice-skating instructor attempts to take advantage of her, she cannot resist. Not a month later, she realizes that she is pregnant and must decide whether or not to get an abortion. Passion Bearer tells of Manon, a young lady who falls in love with a beautiful actress after taking a post as a script girl for a film company—and is subsequently confronted with the pettiest kinds of homophobia.



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Excerpt:


London, 29 September, 1917.


Sophie paused beside a stock-brick building, and she listened for the unnerving rumble of an airship’s engine car. How long has it been since the last bombardment? Sometime before, as she had stood in this very spot, she had heard the Zeppelin clearly enough.


At that point, a Royal-Navy carbide flare had streaked heavenward. Then, from the neighboring rooftops, fifty or more pom-pom guns had opened fire–and the night air had filled with the odor of something like petroleum coke.


Yes, I remember. Now she braced herself for a salvo of fire.


No deafening tumult rang out. Neither did any sickening, stenchful fumes envelope her person.


No, it’s just my nerves. She glanced at the sky, and she whispered a simple prayer of thanksgiving.


From around the corner, an omnibus approached.


She climbed aboard and rode the way to Mayfair Tearoom.


The establishment had never looked so inviting as it did that night. By now, the proprietress had decorated the tables with Michaelmas daisies the color of amethyst, and she had adorned the china cabinet with ornamental cabbage. Moreover, how appetizing the scent of the fresh Eccles cakes.


The tearoom had attracted quite a crowd, too, the young ladies all decked out in silken gowns.


I wonder why. Sophie removed her coat, and she suddenly felt underdressed—for she had not worn anything too fancy that evening, just a puffed blouse and a fluted skirt. At once, she sat down at one of the last available dinette tables.


An eclipse of moths fluttered through the transom, meanwhile, and even they looked better than she did. What beauty the creatures’ wings—a fine royal purple.


Don’t look at them. Alas, when she turned her attention to the doorsill, a dull ache radiated up and down her left arm.


Not a moment later, a tall, gaunt lad, his eyes a shade of whiskey brown, entered the tearoom.


For a time, he glared at the patrons—as if at any moment he might remove a musketoon from beneath his frock coat and shoot everyone.



INTERVIEW 

If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?

When we’re young and insecure, we often cope with that insecurity by insulting and/or ridiculing other students in the schoolyard. It would be spiritually redemptive to be able to apologize to schoolmates for the little things that I might’ve said in a moment of weakness or insecurity.


If you could keep a mythical/paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have?

The creature would have to get along well with cats, so perhaps it would be best to go with a magical cat or a magical ferret or a magical weasel. Another possibility would be a magical rabbit.


How do you keep your writing different from all the others that write in this particular genre?

Objective correlative and/or thing theory. By filling my writing with significant details and/or symbols that mirror and/or evoke emotion, it is possible to give my writing a touch of the artistic. The down side is that many readers despise artistry. They prefer a less adorned narrative voice.


What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?

The best: Work with a published novelist and let him or her tell you what you’re doing right and doing wrong.

The worst: Go get an over-priced M.F.A degree.


Are the experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Absolutely. The best characters and stories come from life itself. It’s just that the characters end up being composites of various people that one has met. Similarly, the story becomes a composite of different, real, heartfelt experiences. In addition, both characters and stories come to include a great deal of fictional material. That fictional element tends to be significant, however. This is because the fictional element follows not from some mystical muse but rather follows from a person’s unconscious thoughts and obsessions.


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AUTHOR Bio and Links:


M. Laszlo is the pseudonym of a reclusive author living in Bath, Ohio. According to rumor, he based the pen name on the name of the Paul Henreid character in Casablanca, Victor Laszlo.

M. Laszlo has lived and worked all over the world, and he has kept exhaustive journals and idea books corresponding to each location and post.


It is said that the maniacal habit began in childhood during summer vacations—when his family began renting out Robert Lowell’s family home in Castine, Maine.


The habit continued in 1985 when, as an adolescent, he spent the summer in London, England. In recent years, he revisited that journal/idea book and based his first work, The Phantom Glare of Day, on the characters, topics, and themes contained within the youthful writings. In crafting the narrative arcs, he decided to divide the work into three interrelated novellas and to set each one in the WW-I era so as to make the work as timeless as possible.


M. Laszlo has lived and worked in New York City, East Jerusalem, and several other cities around the world. While living in the Middle East, he worked for Harvard University’s Semitic Museum. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio and an M.F.A. in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York.


His next work is forthcoming from SparkPress in 2024. There are whispers that the work purports to be a genuine attempt at positing an explanation for the riddle of the universe and is based on journals and idea books made while completing his M.F.A at Sarah Lawrence College.


https://www.amazon.com/M-Laszlo/e/B09PGPTWQ5/ref=aufs_dp_fta_dsk


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