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Sunday, 3 November 2013

LOUISIANA - Sugar, Swamp, and Sex (the deviant variety)


Afterworld by Lois Walden set in Louisiana

The much talented Lois Walden (singer, song writer, librettist, and record producer – as well as writer…) has produced a quite original and challenging work with ‘Afterworld’.

It is the history of a dysfunctional and sexually deviant multi-generational Louisiana sugar growing dynasty. The Duvaliers are at times really laugh out loud funny, and at times really challenging in their behavior to each other and to those that surround them. From Lily and Carter senior and their two very odd sons, Steven and Winston, to their wives Doreen and Charlotte – and their children Charlotte and Carter junior, to their offspring Alice and Theodore… and Steven junior respectively. Are you with me so far?

Click on the cover to find out more
The multi generations interact in the book though the device of the ‘Afterworld’ where the members of the family who have passed on ‘live’ on in a spirit state. The dead can, if circumstances permit it, communicate amongst themselves and – again if circumstances permit – can return to Louisiana to participate in the affairs of the living. Not transparently or obviously – but the living can sense their presence. The dead return to help bring the dying safely to the portal to the ‘Afterworld’.

Ms Walden has constructed a quite complex, but actually quite ‘believable’, work where the relationships – warts and all – across the generations are explored with some really beautiful writing. The sexual deviancy is an integral part of the plot, and it is not included for any voyeuristic reason…It is a book which is both very funny, and very thought provoking. A book I genuinely found hard to put down as I was reading it.

Oh, and the Sugar and Swamp of my title to this piece are as much characters in the book as any of the human or spirit ones… You will see if you read it.

I have not visited Louisiana, but would propose Afterworld to anyone who is intending to. The descriptions of both the sugar plantations and the alligator infested swamps seemed very real to me. I felt quiet definitely dragged into the narrative…

A good, if slightly quirky, recommended read. 

Tony and the TripFiction Team   

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