-the fast and slow times of Batt Canoo, Zooban-American boy
Fourteen-year-old Batt Canoo, only child of immigrants from the little-known island of Zooba, is having trouble with time. When he gets nervous, he puts his ear to his new watch to hear its comforting sound: “tlotch”. One day an extraordinary thing happens: time seems to speed up, sending the world around him into a frenzy of activity. A few days later, time slows down and things come to a standstill, allowing Batt to evade his tormentor Dave Frampton, who becomes 'frozen' in place. Is this some kind of magic, or merely Batt's imagination playing tricks on him? Either way, can he learn how to use it to his advantage? The many challenges in Batt’s life - a new school, his parents’ union troubles in the Zooban cigar factory, being bullied for his orange Zooban skin, and his infatuation with Connie González - bring these questions to a climactic resolution. But not before Batt’s understanding of love and friendship is tested to its very limit.
A modern-day Robin Hood story, complete with robots, a Zooban cigar factory, and a fresh take on first love, TLOTCH is ultimately about a young man learning to overcome his many fears by living in the here and now, rather than dwelling on the past and what’s to come.
THE SUMMIT OF A HOLE
A work of literary fiction
On a cold, spring morning in 1999, an event in Donal Taggart's life forces him underground: literally. At thirty years of age, the failed painter is not on the run from the law, but from a separation with his wife, Bonnie Pope, and the shame of having to leave behind their daughter, Bee. Unable to cope with this and other failings, he botches a suicide and vanishes into a massive cave behind his house in rural Pennsylvania; leaving his family to believe him dead. In the relentless company of bats, cold, and darkness, he revisits his life-story by painting stick-figure murals on the walls.
A year later he comes to the surface, determined to face what he couldn’t before. But it’s too late. Bonnie and Bee have themselves disappeared. Donal throws himself into a search for his daughter and a deeper sense of redemption. He travels on foot to the ghettos of north Philadelphia, where he finds a temporary home of sorts while working in an urban horse stable and trawling the glacial public library internet for clues of his family’s whereabouts.
His efforts draw him northwards to New Hampshire where he eavesdrops on a giant Irish-American family reunion, ultimately encountering his Bee at the top of a lowly paradise . . . the summit of a hole.