It all begins innocently enough: a woman finds an animal that has been the victim of inexplicable torture. However, neither the cat nor the woman are average in Natrelle Long’s The Tattooed Cat. This short novella grips readers from the get-go as it plunges directly into the meat of the story. Charley, our bad-assed protagonist is elegant and rough all at the same time. She is determined and passionate. She will find who exactly has hurt the cat she saved. The journey will lead her face-to-face with the darkness of humanity as the man-hunt reveals much more is going on than animal abuse. What begins with a cat ends with a corpse.
This is the perfect kind of book to tuck into during a quiet afternoon. The short length of the book lends itself to easy reading and the story is perfectly contained within the minimal pages. There is no room for filler or other such garbage in this tale. Every sentence has purpose and each character has meaning. The characters Long creates are true to modern interpretations of humanity. The characters speak like real people, especially Charley, and it all drives the point home.
It’s a quirky book in that there is enough content to write something even twice as long, but yet the ending is neatly wrapped and perfectly delivered that the need to drag the story out disappears. By being able to devote attention and detail to this short book Long still succeeds in creating a whole world with minimal building. Many novellas have the issue of limited time to grab a readers attention and explain the world to them at the same time.
Maybe it’s the cat, maybe it’s the fact that Charley is so determined to unravel the mystery she finds herself knee-deep in that makes The Tattooed Cat by Natrelle Long so interesting. Once your attention is grabbed there is no escaping the desire to read every single word and find out once and for all how the cat and the nefarious deeds of a single man are interconnected. We are reminded of humanity’s darkness and weaknesses and that the world is not a beautiful place. But we also get to see the beauty of a single person working towards polishing this ugliness. This is a book you won’t regret picking up.
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Jesus and Magdalene follows the story of Jesus and his return to modern day Earth where he meets Magdalene who is an activist fighting for a better world. This is an intriguing setup to a novel and a unique perspective of a religious story. Why was this novel important for you to write and what was your inspiration?
Religion has played an important role in my cultural development. I was christened, I went to catechism classes, I was confirmed and I went to mass until the age of fourteen. I wanted to create something truly original, involving contemporary problems, politics, the existence of God and human nature using facts, humor, and irony. For example, the relation between Christiany and Ecology or why there are so many racial conflicts. Jesus and Magdalene don’t give answers, but present questions. Why there is so much violence? Why there is so much stupidity? Are we really so much different from other animals? My novels satirize modern society and use irony and humor to provoke reflection and controversy.
Jesus and Magdalene are biblical figures, but in your story they’re striving to make a better world as regular people. How did you handle the balance between biblical and fictional characters to make them feel real and relatable?
For me, Jesus is the most important figure in History. Jesus was the first to say that all men are equal and to question the dogmas of the temple rulers. He also saved a woman from being stoned, according to the tradition. He was a much greater revolutionary than Castro or Che Guevara. Even those who don’t believe they are influenced by Jesus’ teachings. Freedom and Equality – those are the basis of all western society. In my novel I try to describe the challenges Jesus would face if He would visit us again, 2000 years later. But,although he limits himself to accompanying Magdalene attempting only to pacify those on bad terms, even then Jesus is unable to escape the fury of mankind.
What kind of research, if any, did you do to keep the story accurate?
I read the Bible and I search for biblical studies and interpretations.
Is there a pivotal moment in the story that you feel best defines your characters?
Yes, there is a pivotal moment in the story that defines not only the characters but also mankind (in my own interpretation). A con man – Professor Kacimba – is going to recognize Jesus, while the others don’t. A swindler sees the son of God when he tried to read his hand, but the rest of people, including this modern Magdalene, only see a normal man. This is supposed to be funny and sad at the same time.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
I am writing a novel about Communism, Perestroika and the fall of the Berlin wall. The Staline or Lenine ghost could be one of the characters. I hope to be published in the next year.
Jesus returns to earth and meets activist Magdalene who is fighting for a better world. He find an extremist ecological group, which is plotting to destroy a maize plantation it believes to be genetically modified. Then, he observes the rise up against a tourist development that is to be built in a forest reserve. Finally, he witnesses an armed conflict between blacks and gypsies. However, although he limits himself to accompanying Magdalene attempting only to pacify those on bad terms, even then Jesus is unable to escape the fury of mankind. And only a conman will recognize him. Using humor, Jesus and Magdalene broaches recent phenomena of social and political conflict.
Posted in Interviews
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Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest by Ruth Finnegan is a romance story following a young Irish woman, Kate who falls in love with a mysterious man. However, in a fit of panic and fear she quickly rejects him. She spends time reflecting on her upbringing, educational background and her successes in life. While doing so, she has a life changing epiphany that she had deeply loved the man she rejected years ago. Her search for this man takes her on a wild journey through the kingdom of Beast, Eden, and Hell where she struggles to rescue the man she unconditionally loves. After saving him from the depths of Hell, the two lovers walk toward Heaven, but as he walks past her through the gates they close behind him, leaving her. Now it is his turn to search for her, upon their way back to Heaven, the two find themselves in situations where Kate must again save her love. Once they reach the gates of Heaven, Kate finally comes to realize that her quest was not for the man she loved, but to find who she truly was.
Within this book Ruth Finnegan flawlessly blends poetry with prose that brings beauty and intrigue to the story. It takes rare and exceptional talent to blend the two genres together in a way that doesn’t disrupt the story and Finnegan found that perfect balance. Finnegan expertly brings forth all of Kate’s emotions throughout the story, it is almost unbelievable that this is her first novel. She has a writing style that is truly unique and cannot be compared to anything else I have read. Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest does have a few Christian elements to its story although it didn’t come across as overwhelming.
The novel is about love and romance, but it is also about life experiences that shape and mold the person we become. Finnegan presents this in a way that expands the mind; it makes the reader ponder their own life experiences and how those experiences affected their lives. One major theme is finding how to define yourself through yourself and not in terms of other people. While Kate may be rescuing her love throughout the novel, in reality she is actually beginning to save herself.
There are a few moments when Finnegan creates new words for her story, but they are easy to understand and read because she roots them in traditional Greek and Latin, much like actual words. Others have described the book as dream-like, and I would have to agree, she creates a story that has the atmosphere and tone of a dream-like state. In fact I was almost waiting for Kate to wake up and realize her journey was a dream. This novel is like no other novel in theme or writing style. Finnegan has successfully created something that is truly unique and a real treasure to read.
Pages: 322 | ISBN: 1942146175
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