Down Independence Boulevard –What Readers Say About it

February 19, 2017

Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase 
“Down Independence Boulevard” is another masterpiece by Kenneth Puddicombe following on the heels of “Junta” and “Racing with the Rain” both of which also fall into the category of excellent historical fiction.His latest work is packed with sixteen wonderfully written stories from which the reader can pick and choose the ones that are most appealing, as I have. Anyone who has read Ken’s previous books will have been already accustomed to his skill in holding the reader’s imagination with page after page of exciting detail. Whether he is writing about the political struggles between different factions in the former British Guiana or more intimate stories of a personal nature within a Guyanese family, his possession of a broad vocabulary and a masterful use of the English language should impress any reader. I haven’t yet read the entire sixteen stories which is another benefit of selecting the stories that one wants to read in any sequence. So far I am enjoying “Down Independence Boulevard”.You will too.

Rosaliene Bacchus

February 27, 2017

Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent read. Ken Puddicombe’s short stories are riveting and, in many cases, heartbreaking. His stories give us a close-up view of the effects of political unrest in disrupting the lives of families and individuals, forcing them to seek refuge in foreign lands. But Puddicombe doesn’t end there. He takes us to Canada and the United States where the immigrants, legal and illegal, attempt to rebuild their lives. Each story is a gem.

Ken Puddicombe sparks curiosity, melancholy, anger, and laughter as he shares the lives of the various characters in “Down Independence Boulevard”. These stories lend a glimpse into Guyana’s history and culture, while unraveling unique storylines. The reader is torn between being able to relate to the characters in one story, then feeling outraged by their actions in the next story! The stories build slowly, and you find yourself pondering and questioning, and then the answers are slowly revealed. As a first generation Canadian, I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Guyana through the lives of Puddicombe’s diverse characters, his choice of settings, and the lifestyles of the characters. “Down Independence Boulevard” left me missing the characters and wondering what is to come for them…perhaps a sequel!


Having read the previous books by Ken Puddicombe,I must say that Down Independence Boulevard was masterfully presented by him and once again showed his skilful depiction to detail, which appeal to the five senses and imagination. Ken’s way of delving into our imagination with his many sensuous details help the reader realize that persons,places and things are within the phenomenon he describes.
The start of every page not only brought humour but the longing to get to the next page to experience the characters with the imagination you could be that person.
Reading the assorted stories was a pleasant change from having to read through a book with the same characters from beginning to end.
Well done; highly recommended and look forward to the next writings of Ken Puddicombe.
Bazp


Elaine Gardiner

March 7, 2018 at 3:47 pm

“Down Independence Boulevard” is an amazing first collection of short stories and Ken Puddicombe’s remarkable story telling. “Black Friday” left me with sadness; “The Family Photograph” brought a smile to my face, but “The Last Straw” has to be my favourite, as I am left imagining about the outcome of the moustache (!) and hoping that Zorina was able to have a successful and happier life, but then I am continuing in my mind what was only a story, but such a good one!



Jean Tiwari

Down Independence Boulevard and other stories

A great book of well written and descriptive short stories.

I do have quite a few favourites, some of which relates to my years growing up in Guyana.

My favourite of all would be “The Last Straw” a story a woman being exploited by her in-laws and her very vain husband. Her revenge was quite amusing, and I smiled to
myself a long time after, whenever I thought of the ending. Was even smiling while writing this and recalling the story. Would love a follow up on this. -Jean Tiwari


Junta Review -Guyana Times

‘Junta: The Coup is On’ – A novel by Ken Puddicombe

‘Junta…’ is more than a novel merely about a bloodless coup, executed by the military in a seemingly flawless plan headed by General Septimus Ignatius Marks, wrenching power from the legitimately elected government, as it goes beyond the coup into the machinations of the junta to hold onto to power, at whatever cost, pitting its machinery of manufactured fear and military decisiveness backed by a gang of mercenaries/thugs, headed by The Reverend – a merciless criminal, carrying out the dictates – doing the dirty work – of the army acting under direct instruction of Captain Stevenson, against tiny groups of people seeking the return to civilian rule and the restoration of Front Cover of Junta A Novel by Ken Puddicombedemocracy, a group consisting of students of a university led by Melanie Sanderson, the pugnacious editor of a newspaper, Clarence Baptiste, and a reformist priest, Father Bert, as it goes beyond the junta birthed in the wake of the coup as General Marks is supplanted by his protégé, now General Glen Stevenson. All of the above is set against the backdrop of Hurricane David which adds little to the suspense of the plot, but was a major player in further pauperising the less fortunate while sparing the rich and fortunate few.

 

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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.

Enrico Downer -Author

Rico Downer headshot

 

Enrico Downer was born in Barbados. In humble beginnings as his stories will attest. He attended multiple institutions of learning that began with elementary and secondary schooling on the island and continued to the University of Rio Piedras, P.R. and Ponce Technical as a recipient of a scholarship from the International Cooperation Administration (ICA) of the United States.

Rico immigrated to America in 1961 and did some courses at UWI (Univ of Wisconsin). He subsequently joined Value Line, an investment publishing firm in NYC and later was appointed International Correspondent with Airco International in NYC and Madison, Wisconsin.
From early, as an English major, he set about to explore the mystery and magic of literary expression, dabbling originally in poetry and later finding his niche in novels and short stories always steeped in historical fiction and drawn from his upbringing in a colonial society as well as from experiences living in New York, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and from travels throughout the Far East.

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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.

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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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Racing With The Rain

 

“Racing with the Rain evokes…personal consequences of an historic political conflict in Guyana, during the Cold War…”  –Frank Birbalsingh author of Novels and The Nation: Essays in Canadian Literature.

Racing With The Rain: A fast moving rain cloud triggers a downpour and people run helter-skelter. Is it possible to outrun the rain? Can one really escape the past?

It is 1980. Guyanese born and Canadian naturalized Carl Dias’ life is unraveling. Separated from his wife and two children, he now receives news that his father, Augusto has died in Guyana.

Conflict has marked Carl’s early life. Back in British Guiana, he was a member of the left-wing ruling party. This led to a clash with Augusto, a businessman with political ambitions in the Conservative party. Adding to the conflict: Carl had taken a scholarship to Cuba, creating a great rift between father and son.

It’s been sixteen years since Carl left. His return will reignite memories of the collapse of the political and social fabric of the colony. In the background was CIA intervention and the Kennedy administration applying pressure on the British.

On his return to Guyana, Special Branch interrogates Carl. They’re trying to flush out people connected to a North American based group of expats aiming to free their homeland. Top members of this group were caught and arrested in a joint RCMP/FBI operation. Carl fails to disclose the connection he once had with the group.

Will Carl’s past catch up with him? Will Special Branch discover his links to the expats? These and other threats will determine whether Carl is allowed to leave the country and be reconciled with his family…