This is the story of Jack Pike whose carefree golden future was happily mapped out before he joined an informal foursome for tennis that changed everything. This tale takes us from his youth in beautiful Vermont, USA, through a protracted route to Cape Town, South Africa, spanning in between such settings as England’s rural Dorset, the Pacific Ocean, Australia, and the Indian Ocean. It is also the story of love and loyalty, and love and disloyalty, and of Jack’s beloved son who tests their bonds through his own lifestyle in New York. Beginning in 1937, the story ends in early 1982, touching lightly on world affairs as they occur, and affecting the protagonists with little more than glancing blows except when hard enough to change the course of their histories. It is, however, the evolution of popular music through those times that weaves the deepest nostalgia, not least for Jack himself whose very soul is music.
HOW THE BOOK CAME ABOUT
“My daughter was a demanding toddler when I conceived this book as a form of self- defence against mind-atrophying hours playing with blocks on the floor! My solution was to call on my imagination where she could not trespass, and while I sat with her, created this story and all its characters, even the girl who made up a casual fourth for tennis and then entrenched herself in the book, against my intentions. My toddler is now charmingly adult and notably undemanding, and the book also has had a metamorphosis – growing from hasty jottings when allowed, through copious handwritten pages to an electric typewriter and eventually, at the dawn of home PCs, through floppy disks to the USB stick where it resides today. Like the chief protagonists of this novel, it is a book with a history.”
Lindsay Grattan Cooper was born in a sleepy seaside village in South Africa, but soon moved with her family to Cape Town and has remained, ostensibly at least, a city girl since then. On completion of education at two girls’ private schools, she eschewed university and instead, accepting an early job-offer, entered straight into the frenetic life of a large international advertising agency where she spent two years as a junior layout artist. A four-month tour of Europe broke the spell of that cut-throat industry, however, and while debating what path her next career would take, she embarked on a six-month temporary sales-assistant job at one of Cape Town’s leading bookshops. Thirteen years later she was still there, propelled by sore feet, cluttered pockets of pencilled notes, and an encyclopaedic memory of titles and authors. “But what happier place to spend your days?” she exclaims. “Before general computerisation, everything was hands-on. Colleagues were like-minded bookworms, customers were affable, intelligent and chatty, with many becoming real friends, and the surrounding walls were floor-to-ceiling books on every subject on earth. Only the man I married had the power to wrest me from such an idyllic working life!” The man who managed that has been faithfully at her side ever since, and together they have raised a daughter and a son, both now grown up and living interesting lives far from home. “The fault is mine,” she confesses, “I am a travel freak who imbued my son with such quivering wanderlust that he is seldom at home, and my own obsession with owning a second home on our beloved Island of St Helena – where I lived for nearly ten years – means my daughter has now made her own life there, in mid-South Atlantic, on one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world!” Apart from travel and the fanatical research she bestows on every destination before departure, Lindsay’s other passions include history, food, wildlife and nature conservation, reading, writing, music, news, animals, interesting people, and much else... She doesn’t hate much, but her short list includes lightning, gyms, leather car-seats, plain milk, animal cruelty, and fatuous politicians…