Story Of The Month

NOTE: “The Story Of The Month” changes every month OR bi-monthly and might also have been featured in my collection DOWN INDEPENDENCE BOULEVARD published by MiddleRoad Publishers in 2017 and available on Amazon, or might be an Extract from my two novels RACING WITH THE RAIN and JUNTA.

FOR MORE WRITING LIKE THIS CHECK OUT

Down Independence Boulevard: and other stories
by Ken Puddicombe
Link: http://a.co/4Fy5oBg

 

2017

December -The Touch Of Peace

2018

Jan – The Interview

Feb – The Underground [2nd Prize Polaris Magazine]

Mar -Welcome  To Punta Canada

APR – Return Of The Prodigal [from Down Independence Boulevard and Other Stories]

MAY- No Thank You

JUNE – The Shoplifter

JULY/ AUGUST: The Last Straw [from Down Independence Boulevard and Other Stories]

SEPTEMBER/ OCTOBER: Relics In The Attic [from Down Independence Boulevard and Other Stories]

NOVEMBER: The Day Queen Victoria Lost Her head

DECEMBER— The Touch Of Peace

 

THE TOUCH OF PEACE ©

Martha stepped into the corridor as Isaac pulled the door shut and inserted his key in the lock. She heard the squeak in the door of the apartment opposite. She turned around and saw the door ajar. Just a slight opening—narrow enough to maintain a semblance of secrecy, wide enough that she could see two eyes peering, staring, looking at them.

She’d seen those eyes before. They were attached to a small head, about three feet from the floor; deep, wide, brown eyes glowing in a dark apartment. She’d nodded the first time she’d seen them, smiled the second, said hello the third. There had never been a response. There was none now, as she did all three: nodded, smiled, and said, “Hello, how are you today?”

The eyes withdrew into the apartment and the door closed— a swift fluid movement, as if the person had been caught doing something that was haram.

Group of People Taking Photo

 

Haram: she’d come across the word by accident one day as she was doing research on the Middle East, her curiosity piqued by her neighbours. Haram: Forbidden, and there was so much forbidden in the Middle East culture.

“Don’t know why you even bother, Martha,” Isaac said. “It’s a bloody waste of time. You’ll never get a response from any of them. I doubt if they even speak English.”

The whole apartment complex was filled with them. A virtual invasion over the last few weeks leading up to December, is what Isaac had said. She’d followed the story in the news: bombings in Baghdad, and sectarian violence following the withdrawal of the American forces. Canada had granted asylum to many refugees—Isaac got the impression they were all in his building.

Some of them had been interpreters for the Canadian armed forces. It must mean they had a fair command of English. She’d told this to Isaac one day and he’d shrugged, in his usual skeptical way.

“Oh, I don’t know Isaac, there must be a way of getting through. She looks so young and sweet. Can’t imagine she’s more than ten, or eleven.”

They were seen all over the building: in the laundry room fiddling around with washers and dryers; in the lobby as they read their foreign newspapers. Sometimes she didn’t have to see them to know they were there—she heard the Arabic music through the doors, smelled the unmistakable odour of the Middle East cuisine: the kebabs, the fried Falafel and the spiced Tabbouleh.

“If Canada had to take in refugees, why couldn’t they be from English speaking countries,” Isaac said. “And why couldn’t they at least know what it means to be a Christian.”

They were heading for the City Centre to stock up on groceries for Christmas.

She was bracing for the complaints she would have to endure. About how Isaac was sick and tired of encountering all of those statistical menwho always waited for the last moment to do their Christmas shopping, when his was lying wrapped under the tree in the living room.

They came back from morning mass. Isaac was sitting in his rocking chair, reading the newspaper, when she heard the knock on the door.

“Who the hell could it be,” Isaac said. The time when people came over on Christmas Day was long past. Two kids, one in far-off Australia, the other doing volunteer work in Guyana, friends either deceased or long moved to cottage country or warmer climes. And just where the hell is Guyana, anyhow, that she had to go all the way there?Martha had looked it up in the Atlas and found it: a former British colony, dwarfed between huge Venezuela and gigantic Brazil. And who lived there? Probably just another bunch of heathens looking to come to Canada.

Isaac opened the door. From the kitchen where she was seasoning the turkey, Martha saw the girl with the brown eyes; two large, hairy hands of a man were resting on her shoulder. Martha had only got brief glimpses of the man in the building. She heard that he worked shift at the hospital and was holding down another job at the local car wash. The mother was rarely outside.

“Yes, what can I do for you?” Isaac said.

 “If I am permitted, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Faroq Ahmed. I am sorry to be of a nuisance to you, sir, but I am wondering, that is,” the man tapped the girl on her shoulder, “my daughter Sarah was wondering, if you would like to join us in the courtyard for celebrations tonight.”

“And what kind of celebrations might that be, that you would be having them in the courtyard, and at night?” Isaac said.

“It’s the feast of I du I Milad.”

Martha hurried over to the door. “We would love to,” she said. “Wouldn’t we, Isaac?”

Isaac shrugged and returned to his rocking chair.

The man smiled. He had a thick, black moustache, and when his lips parted to speak, they revealed a chiseled set of glimmering white ivory that would have been the envy of Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia.

“So, it start seven. We have snacks and a fire. Looking for you out, then.”

The little girl smiled and trailed behind her father as Martha closed the door.

“Why did you agree,’ Isaac said. “It sounds like another pagan rite. And of all nights, Christmas, we’re going to have to be there?”

I du I Miladis the Day of the Birth of Christ, Isaac. They’re Christians, just like you and me.”

“Oh?”

“The bonfire is part of their tradition. A child, presumably the little girl, will read the story of the nativity from the Arabic Bible. One of their bishops will bless the congregation; he will touch someone, that person will touch the next person, and so on. It’s called: The Touch Of Peace. I’m hoping you will be one of the people touched, Isaac.”

END

Racing With The Rain

CAN AN INDIVIDUAL MAKE A DIFFERENCE WHEN POWERFUL FORCES ARE ALIGNED AGAINST DEMOCRACY? CAN SOMEONE AVOID THE STIGMA OF HIS HERITAGE?

These questions are essential to the theme of Ken Puddicombe’s new novel JUNTA.

Expatriate Marcus Jacobson wants to make a difference on newly independent Saint Anglia where he is taking up a professorship but there are forces that will test his expectation. The military, under General Marks stages a coup, and Hurricane David is heading for the island.

Marcus also has skeletons in his closet. He’s descended from the Planter Class that once owned slaves on the island. He’s torn—does he have the right to get involved in the politics of the island or should he be a bystander?

The people Marcus encounters will determine his attitude to the Junta. These people include: Melanie, a student who thinks force should be used to restore democracy; Father Bert, a priest who believes in Liberation Theology; Clarence Baptiste, editor of the local newspaper who will use the media to oppose; The Reverend who runs a dirty tricks campaign for the Junta; Kentish, an islander who is a pacifist by nature and believes that events should run their course. Marcus finds himself being inexorably drawn towards Melanie and when she takes matters into her own hands, the decision is made. But, the Junta is determined to hold on to power at all cost.

 

For a signed copy of Racing With The Rain eBook

Down Independence Boulevard and Other Stories

A taxi driver notices the changes in Independence Boulevard since freedom was gained from Britain. A free-wheeling spirit spends his time gambling and engaging in riots. A man is sentenced to death for the murder of his lover. Two women escape racial conflict and seek a better life at home and abroad. A housewife has faced the last straw with her husband. A mailman is caught in the middle of the World Trade Centre terrorist attack. These are some of the characters encountered in this engaging collection of short stories from the pen of Ken Puddicombe.

Amazon link: Down Independence Boulevard: and other stories
by Ken Puddicombe
Link: http://a.co/djDIyAZ

 

 


 

 

Racing Review by Frank Birbalsingh

REVIEW OF RACING WITH THE RAIN by Frank Birbalsingh

Professor Emeritus, English Literature, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Racing With The Rain is the first novel of Guyanese born Ken Puddicombe who, since 1971, has lived in Canada where he works as an accountant. Racing offers a fictional version of political events during a turbulent period, from the 1960s to the 1980s, in the history of Guyana, formerly British Guiana. The novel is a roman a clef, one in which people and events may be identified through fictional names assigned to particular organizations, individuals or places, for example, “Liberty House” for actual Freedom House, “Arawak Hotel” for Carib Hotel, “Kingsley” for Sydney King, and “Jack Hill” for Kelshall.

Continue reading

JUNTA -What Readers Say About It

“…The diverse characters in the book become enmeshed in the struggle and the tension between them builds increasingly from page to page.” –Enrico Downer, author of There Once Was a Little England.


“JUNTA examines the politics of a nation as only a skilled storyteller like author Ken Puddicombe can.  Rich with local flavor and characters that live and breathe on the page, JUNTA will stay with you long after you close the book.”—Karen Fenech author of The Protectors Series.


on March 2, 2016
In reading Junta, I found Mr. Puddicombe to be a very good storyteller. The narrative of this book had rhythm and tone that was tastefully weaved in with facts, that gave it the writing style of non-fiction. I got a sense that I was on a historical journey from a journalistic point of view. The book featured scenes with meaningful slices of life. There were so many well-planned series of events that occured as soon as the plot unfolded, which heightened the conflict from the opening pages with background information coming through as the story progresed.

All of the characters were well-developed. They were credible, interesting and unique, with disctintive voices. Each character has their own personal journey, suffering and hopes. I thoroughly understood them through their thoughts, feeling and actions. The dialogue was done with such sophistication that it revealed new facets of their personalities. West Indians have a specific way of phrasing sentences and I liked Ken’s artistic decision to go with the accent. It flowed well and it was easy to follow. I noticed there was a lot of emphasis on the setting of the fictionous island of St. Anglia. The setting adequately described powerful descriptive passages and visual imagery that at times I actually felt I was brought into the world that he created, as the author. This story had so much rising tensions and climaxes that at times it felt like I was watching an action movie.

Overall, I think the basic premise of this novel was appealing and well executed. It’s concise with a great writing style. I feel as a historical fiction it captured the time and it kept me totally engaged from the beginning to the end.


on February 18, 2015
This fictional account of a Coup on a fictional island in the Caribbean made for an interesting read. However there was one part of the book which needed more to be written about before the conclusion of the story.

JUNTA -a novel

CAN AN INDIVIDUAL MAKE A DIFFERENCE WHEN POWERFUL FORCES ARE ALIGNED AGAINST DEMOCRACY? CAN SOMEONE AVOID THE STIGMA OF HIS HERITAGE?

These questions are essential to the theme of the novel JUNTA.

Expatriate Marcus Jacobson wants to make a difference on newly independent Saint Anglia where he is taking up a professorship but there are forces that will test his expectation. The military, under General Marks stages a coup, and Hurricane David is heading for the island.

Marcus also has skeletons in his closet. He’s descended from the Planter Class that once owned slaves on the island. He’s torn—does he have the right to get involved in the politics of the island or should he be a bystander?

The people Marcus encounters will determine his attitude to the Junta. These people include: Melanie, a student who thinks force should be used to restore democracy; Father Bert, a priest who believes in Liberation Theology; Clarence Baptiste, editor of the local newspaper who will use the media to oppose; The Reverend who runs a dirty tricks campaign for the Junta; Kentish, an islander who is a pacifist by nature and believes that events should run their course. Marcus finds himself being inexorably drawn towards Melanie and when she takes matters into her own hands, the decision is made. But, the Junta is determined to hold on to power at all cost.


 

 

What Readers Say About Racing With The Rain

“Characters caught between deeply conflicting loyalties are driven by the politics of the dank, tropical atmosphere of a British Caribbean colony, half a century ago, only to find themselves trapped in a drama whose tragic effects still haunt them and their fellow Guyanese.” –Frank Birbalsingh author of Novels and The Nation: Essays in Canadian Literature.


“Kenneth Puddicombe’s RACING WITH THE RAIN is a gritty look at the politics of a nation and within a family that drive a young man from his home and from his country. Gripping and hard-hitting, this is a novel you won’t want to miss.”  —Karen Fenech author of Gone


“From the first page…the characters come alive in…creating enough tension to want the reader to thirst for more. As a fellow author, I am impressed with this author’s writing style which left me chomping at the bit to read beyond the first chapter.” –ENRICO DOWNER, author of There Once Was a Little England, a story about man’s obsession with colour and class in colonial Barbados.


By Kat Lager

Amazon Verified Purchase

This review is from: Racing With The Rain (Kindle Edition)

I love the author’s use of descriptive language. The setting and characters jump off the pages of the book.

Racing With the Rain has many layers to it. It examines family conflict, political upheaval and personal turmoil. The reader follows the main character, Carl Dias, through a journey where he discovers what really matters in life.


By bazp

Format:Paperback from Amazon

I completed this novel in 3 days for the turning of every page drove me deeper into the story, politics and human side of the characters. The author’s vision and story were well told and a remarkable representation of colonialism. Highly recommended.


FROM JOSIE ANGOD

This book was quite a journey for me!  Being married to a Guyanese for almost 40 years now, I could relate to many of Carl’s childhood adventures. They rang really true to Guyanese life from my husband’s experiences, and especially from stories my mother-in-law related to me over the years. Your book helped to connect the dots. In particular, I learned much about Guyanese history after Independence that I was not aware of.

This is a very informative book that all children of Guyanese heritage should read. It would help them better understand why their parents think the way they do; the challenges they faced in their childhood and the hardships in finding their way out of Guyana.

I enjoyed your book. You are a descriptive writer who paints well with pen in hand. Your story had a bit of everything….suspense, humor, history, and romance. Most of your main characters have some redeeming qualities about them. I like that.

Josie Angod


FROM ELEANOR GILLON

I finished Racing with the Rain this morning and WOW, what a great book. It kept me wondering what was going to happen next, full of suspense, reality of life and I got a bit of a history lesson. Thanks Ken and I hope you are working on another one!


A masterpiece!! Mar 9 2013

By Ryguy

Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase

Racing with the Rain immerses the reader in a captivating plot, that leaves them scrambling to finish the current page and eagerly turn towards the next one. A must read for everyone!


Memorable April 25 2013

By Shopaholic – Published on Amazon.com

Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase

Racing With the Rain in a memorable novel about family, human relations and life in Guyana pre and post independence. Well written, the author draws you to the relatable character of Carl Dias, a man who has to come to grips with his past, present and future while visiting a country he once fleed. Fast moving, poignant, touching, this story is well told and many generations of Guyanese immigrants now living abroad will come to appreaciate the insight this fiction provides into the realities of what their parents and grandparents endured during the struggle for independence in Guyana.

Racing With The Rain: A fast moving rain cloud in an otherwise clear sky triggers a sudden downpour and people run for cover. Is it possible to outrun the rain? Can one ever really escape the past?


on December 28, 2014
A gripping page-turner. Puddicombe blends the past and present, creating tension and greater appreciation of what is at stake when a son returns home to his birthplace to bury his father with whom he has had a troubled relationship. The connection with my own return to Guyana after my father’s death was immediate and heartfelt. A story that brings to the fore the conflicting relationships between a father and his sons.

on April 17, 2014
Thanks for writing this novel and revealing what was silenced and distorted for so long. A gripping story and a real page turner for someone who was too young to understand all the hatred and violence of the 1960s in Guyana.

on June 11, 2013
Very well written,the author seems to have been very thorough in his research. Unfortunately though it brought back long forgotten memories of a very scary time in Guyana, it was also nostalgic,taking me back to other earlier happy & carefree days. Yes, it was a race with the rain, homes open to let in the fresh air had to be quickly shuttered before it came clattering down onto the zinc roofs. Good reading.

on November 10, 2012
Ken Puddicombe’s intriguing novel takes us back to a time when British Guiana (now Guyana) and the wider Caribbean were the pawns in the on-going conflicts between colonial powers. The will of the people and the welfare of the common man mattered little in that time of Cold War rivalry. The story’s characters come alive from the very first page and I attribute this to the author’s gripping writing style. The tensions among the members of a Guyanese family are palpable. They reverberate from the beginning of the story when it is seen that the government’s deep-seated corruption has caused a family to flee the country and has literally torn them apart.
This book will appeal to anyone who is interested in the interplay between powerful nations to the detriment of a relatively small country.
I recommend this book wholeheartedly.

on February 17, 2017
“Racing with the Rain” portrays a vivid account of life in Guyana and has fired my deep longing to visit the country. The writer has captured the atmosphere and mood of the ordinary people and their interaction with the political issues of that time. I could not put the book down ; it was absorbing right to the end. Ken is a talented and fiercely observant writer with a sensitive understanding of human emotions and I felt this was a very compelling story.

“Book Review: “Racing With The Rain” by Ram Angod

In his debut novel, “Racing With The Rain”, Ken Puddicombe fictionalizes his personal experiences growing up in British Guiana within a context of racial conflict, turbulent colonial politics, boyhood exploits, and divisive family tensions. The principal character, Carl Diaz, reluctantly returns to his native land to attend his father’s funeral and through a perceptual lens tinted by 16 years of cultural exposure in Toronto, he reflects on his life in the British colony. Puddicombe holds the reader’s interest in his novel through gruesome national politics, humour, colourful characters, family intrigues, some final suspense, and simply by humanizing his several sub-plots in ways most of us can relate to. “Racing With the Rain” is a good read, the kind of stuff you’d enjoy curled up in your sofa on a rainy day!

—Ram Angod, World Traveller. Existentialist.

Book Review – Down Independence Boulevard and other stories

NO better reward for a writer than to see his work acknowledged!

90rollsroyces

I found out about this book by Ken Puddicombe on Rosaliene Bacchus’ blog – Three Worlds One Vision. Read her fantastic review of this book – Down Independence Boulevard and Other Stories by Ken Puddicombe. 

I wanted to read this book since its based in Guyana and the steady diet of American/British based novels was getting too boring. I am glad I read the book because it has given me an idea for a book of my own. I don’t like short stories – so I never buy a short story collection by any author, but this book is very interesting because its a series of short stories that are all interlinked. Just loved that style.

I learnt a lot of new things – the presence of Indians in Guyana for one. I knew that there were Indians in the West Indies because some of them play for the…

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Junta: Book Reviews

A review of JUNTA byhttps://rosalienebacchus.wordpress.com/author/rbacchus60/

 

 

Three Worlds One Vision

Front Cover of Junta A Novel by Ken Puddicombe

Front Cover of Junta: A Novel by Ken Puddicombe

What can we do when the armed forces seize power from our democratically elected government, however corrupt?

In Junta: A Novel, set in 1979 on the Caribbean Island of Saint Anglia, Ken Puddicombe explores this question. Taking us within the inner circle of the Junta, he introduces us to General Marks, chief of the armed forces, and his second-in-command, Colonel Stevenson. On a tranquil Sunday morning, while their Prime Minister is away in Barbados attending a conference of Caribbean leaders, the general executes his meticulously planned and bloodless coup.

Opposition to the military takeover comes from Melanie Sanderson, a university student in her twenties who calls on students, faculty members, and the people of Saint Anglia to join her and her friends on a peaceful, protest march to the legislative center.

History Professor Marcus Jacobson, whom she admires, rejects her…

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