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After admiring UCLA’s popular English professor and poet Dr. William Langley for eleven years, twenty-seven-year-old graduate student Sela Hart is finally accepted into one of his exclusive creative writing classes. She has had her own work published and studied in Africa, and he has had a stressful twenty-year marriage to a lesbian woman while struggling to balance his world with the demands of academia. But the forty-year-old Langley is intrigued by Sela’s strange stories, while she is drawn to his emotional reeling at the sudden death of his wife in a horrendous car accident.
The two become friends and then lovers, being touched along the way by Langley’s late wife’s gay friends, a Tanzanian man who cares for endangered animals, and Sela’s grandmother, who raises the only blue rose in the world. As Sela’s stories about an aging actor named William Hathaway and a girl named Angela Star – who may or may not be real – intensify, Langley begins to show signs of mental confusion and illness.
The fictional Chalice River from Sela’s Quantum Crossing collection becomes a real place for him – one that is lonely, dark, and frightening. When he is ultimately swept away in a déjà vu car accident just yards from where his wife died, his only hope is the power of Sela’s passionate tale and her invincible love.
Praise for APPLAUSE…
“It was a good read and I really enjoyed the literary aspect of it as well. You were able to integrate that nicely without it coming off as didactic. It’s always challenging in any art form to bring technique to the forefront and yet not have that take away from the reader’s involvement in the story. The poetry was uniformly excellent as well.”
― R. Yates
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“It was intriguing to figure out the multi-plot levels that all come together in the very last line!”
― H. Vulcan
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“After the first chapter, I could not put the book down! The poetry and short fiction within the novel was intense and unforgettable.”
― Katherine Carpenter