“It’s the female ginkgo tree that smells. The male trees are odorless. But get a berry from one of the females caught in your shoe tread and the smell of vomit and rotting eggs will haunt you all day.
I am in love with my neighbor, Allan. He’s Scottish with dark hair and black eyes and speaks with that incredible burr. He’s got salt and pepper eyelashes and a jaw line that begs you to pull him into your and kiss the skin on his neck until it bruises.”
So begins my novel, Year of the Gingko.
Year of the Ginkgo was published Unbound Press, a British Publisher from Glasgow, Scotland. The protagonist is a middle-aged woman married to a doctor and smitten by her Scottish neighbor (for the record, no one on my block is from the British Isles). Caroline has recently been let go from her job with the city, her children are too old to require full-time mothering, and her husband has developed interests outside of the household. Another neighbor, Barbara, is in the process of adopting a Chinese girl as a single mother while undergoing a nervous breakdown. In spite of herself, Caroline becomes the caretaker for her immediate neighborhood, negotiating garage sales, backyard barbecues, and eventually the destiny of the adopted child.
“It really is just one goddamn clown show after another,” laments my narrator Caroline as she tries to juggle all the craziness in her life.
As an artist in mid-career my fiction explores the small tragedies and resonance of middle age. In my most recent novels I have attempted to discern the timbre and qualities that have emerged in my own adult life with characters whose desires are circumscribed by the landscapes they may have created and pasts they can no longer escape. Ambiguity and paradox have become familiar subjects, and with that, I attempt to capture the sadness and grace notes of the quotidian. I find the prosaic comedy of American middle age to be a rich vein of inspiration.