The Men written by Fanny Calder, publisher The Real Press, was released in ebook and paperback format in April 2016. The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.
To buy link: https://amzn.to/2nFzPnK
A young, haunted woman falls in love with a singer. She finds she has been consumed by the relationship and when it ends – as it inevitably does – she feels unable to quite rediscover herself. Cities can draw you into even darker places, and she embarks on a series of intense relationships with thirteen men of very different types, from a rough sleeper to a millionaire, and from a transvestite to a leading politician. As she is propelled through a series of extraordinary adventures and wild parties she finds she begins to lose her own identity. Is there a way out?
I am delighted to share with you an extract from Fanny Calder’s debut novel:
EXTRACT – from the chapter called:
I am eighteen. School is a glamorous maelstrom of hormones within which the songs he writes circulate like religious artefacts. Battered cassettes with the band’s name handwritten on them. Track listings on the cardboard inserts also handwritten and grubby. Our own private rock and roll gods. He leaves the school the year before I arrive so I hear him sing before I meet him. On the cassettes he sounds worn-down and sad. This is romantic. I don’t remember meeting him, but I remember going to a pub at the other end of town from school to see his band play. The sun went down on a summer evening and I found myself with a group of men drinking beer in the pub garden as we waited for the music to start. The men were large, sweaty, funny, their laughter generous. They were at ease with themselves in a way that the boys at school were not. I was thrilled by them. I cannot remember meeting him, or that first performance.
But days or weeks later I remember the night of our leavers’ dance. I wore a white strapless dress. It was warm and I walked bare shouldered with my friend Annabel towards the dance and then past it, glancing in at our friends through the open dining hall door then leaving them behind us. The green hills glowed softly as we walked to the pub to see him.
For years afterwards I dream anxiously about that missed dance. I don’t remember our first kiss but I know that I spent that night with him in his bed, the first entire night I ever spent with a man. I was moved by the gentle way in which he held me in his sleep but I was on edge the whole night. I could not sleep and I was terrified of waking him so I could not move. I could not sleep and I could not move and I had drunk too much so my head ached. I can remember the sound of the milk float arriving at dawn and the bleakness that came with feeling more exhausted than I ever had before. Hours later he finally woke up and reached across to kiss me and I let him but I was too terrified to speak and left soon after, stiff with self-consciousness, still in the white dress.
We spent a few more nights together after that. I only remember one of them, at a rainy music festival. Four people died in the mud in front of the stage that day. Men were throwing full cans of beer across the crowd, opened so that they sprayed beer into the rain as they flew. Sometime that afternoon one of the flying cans hit me on my left temple and nearly knocked me out. By the time we went to bed, the rain was almost heavy enough to put out the fire that he had made. We kissed and did as much as it was possible to do to each other in a damp narrow single sleeping bag. It was impossible to tell what he thought of me, whether he even liked me, but again he held me kindly and kept me warm and this time I managed to sleep fitfully, wound around him in the small bag. A few months later, I briefly kissed his brother in a sad basement in South London. I don’t remember any more than this about meeting him, but I do remember the songs that he wrote and sang. They were hauntingly brilliant.
About the Author
Fanny Calder is a writer and environmental campaigner who lives in London with her daughter, her poodle and her whippet.
She no longer goes to quite so many parties!