Published: 01/02/2013
ISBN: 9781780884233
eISBN: 9781783069989
Format: Paperback/eBook



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Checkmate
Portraits of Power
by Doug Thompson

The three novellas were written at quite different times and in differing circumstances and consequently reflect my concerns of their particular moment of creation, while nevertheless unifying around the central theme of inhuman abuses of power. Mind of God was written originally as a screen play in a vaguely Pinterian mould and still retains many traces of its origins, particularly in its closed, intense, surreal setting. It is a story of an ordinary man, one of the 'long-term unemployed', going to a job interview, which turns out to be cruelly oppressive, and is told not by the man but by the all-powerful interviewer...

The Rise (and Rise) and Fall of Gianluca delle Pozza Nere seems light-years away from the foregoing, in terms of setting and characterisation. Its events occur in 1512, at a moment of profound crisis in the life of the failing Florentine Republic. Gianluca, a young would-be-painter, is employed as secretary to the Secretary of the Second Chancellery, Master Machiavelli- a job which he finds boring and irksome in the extreme. Then one day, out of the blue, he is offered the opportunity of modelling for a great Venetian painter, Maestro Lorenzo, who is working on a large, specially commissioned painting in Florence. Fired by the hope and ambition of his would-be calling he is taken on by the Maestro, but things turn out very differently from what he had imagined... A 'rite of passage' novella whose consequences, for Gianluca and for Florence, are formidable.

Checkmate , the last written of this trilogy of novellas, might well have been sub-titled 'the biter bit'. An arrogant, autocratic politician agrees to participate in a stunt devised by students as a contribution to rag week, with quite unforeseen consequences...She is totally humiliated by her experience but, in the end, is forced to re-consider her own attitudes and the outcomes of her government's policies for a bleak world. All three stories are driven by humour and irony, but their concerns and resolutions are highly relevant to the world we now live in.

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