“Abducted by Circumstance is a thrilling crime story, a dark and complex psychological study, a rich contemplation on contemporary life. It is also a masterful moral drama about the centuries-old conflicts that arise from the juxtaposition of the flesh and spirit.”
—Allen Wier, author of Tehano
“David Madden continues to push the envelope of literary fiction in subtle and profoundly sophisticated ways. Abducted by Circumstance is a quirky, utterly compelling novel in pieces that in its very structure speaks to the work’s twenty-first-century theme: how do we find connection in a fragmented world? In this new book Madden is at the height of his considerable power.”
—Robert Olen Butler
In Abducted by Circumstance, David Madden offers his readers a unique experience simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating.
Carol Seaborg makes a risky visit in zero weather to a lighthouse near her house in The Thousand Islands of New York on the Canadian border. A self-confident, attractive woman of about 55 suddenly appears on the observation deck looking out over frozen Lake Ontario. Carol admires the woman as her ideal.
Suddenly, the woman disappears, apparently abducted by a serial rapist and killer, stimulating in Carol an immediate empathy that, enhanced by the power of her imagination, is so great as to make her unique. Carol projects her own emotions, imagination, and intellect into Glenda’s experience.
To render that empathy and imagination, Madden channels everything that the people around her say and do through Carol’s perceptions so intimately that he shifts frequently and without transition into her thoughts, which focus mostly on the abducted woman, whose name newscasters reveal is Glenda Hamilton.
As Carol imagines Glenda gradually coping with her abductor, she speaks directly, sometimes out loud, to her, encouraging her, advising her, expressing fear for her.
If Carol’s external experiences are passive almost to paralysis, her memories reveal that her life has been full of more venturesome relationships and events (she once rode across Greece alone on a bicycle) than most wives and mothers in their late thirties have. Carol’s emotions and imagination are highly charged and exquisitely presented.
The circumstances and relationships of her past and present predispose Carol to empathize with Glenda. Carol’s own life among a crude, remote second husband, a somewhat estranged adolescent son, a bright five-year-old daughter, a father who is a rather cold philosophy teacher, and the strong spiritual presence of her mother who committed suicide, is simple and routine. The events involving Glenda’s disappearance take place during the week before Carol’s second surgery for breast cancer.
Gradually, as she takes late night drives with her little girl, visits her ex-boyfriend’s father in a nursing home, drives by her ex-lover’s house and business, and visits the campus where her father is a prominent teacher, the reader realizes, some pages before Carol herself does, that she has been abducted by the circumstances of her life.
Although it is grounded in the realistic detail of everyday life, Abducted by Circumstance is unique in conception, style, and characterization. Madden immerses the reader in an extraordinarily rich and unforgettable psychological experience.
Thoroughly absorbing from start to finish, Abducted by Circumstance explores Carol’s troubled psyche with the rare precision and insight that have long distinguished David Madden’s fiction.
Since 1961, each of David Madden’s highly praised novels and two books of short stories has had some quality of uniqueness, among them Cassandra Singing, Sharpshooter: A Novel of the Civil War, Bijou, and The Suicide’s Wife. Twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, David Madden received the Robert Penn Warren Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers.
Flight 785 is bound for London and Brussels, but its passengers are destined to arrive at an unexpected destination. Theirs is a journey that will continue until they each find their true home and, in the process, uncover their innermost being.
Written by Naomi Gladish Smith, The Arrivals will intrigue readers from all walks of life and faiths and provoke discussion. We follow a small group of travelers---a husband and wife on their way to Ireland, a young woman beginning a fellowship at a prestigious British university, business people on their way to various conferences and meetings in Brussels, a minister coming to terms with his wife's desertion and his own fading faith, a small boy going to meet his mother in London---as they slowly unravel the mystery of the afterlife and learn that home is truly where the heart is.
This hilarious send-up of outlandish Southern characters includes a beautician, a luncheonette waitress, a radio evangelist, the widow of a gas and oil distributror and the residents of a fictional mobile home park in Arkansas as they find uproarious ways to enjoy life, needle each other, and remember the dear-departed.
I knew the secret as a child before anyone else did—that God planted the Garden of Eden just seventy-five kilometers south of Mexico City, near the town of Cuernavaca. He scattered seeds so only the most colorful flowers and the best climbing trees would grow in that semitropical paradise. He filled the stables with the fastest, strongest Arabians; mother’s aviary with more birds than anywhere else in the world. Then he constructed a wall twice as tall as Father and encircled our Eden to keep it safe. We named the garden the Hacienda of San Serafin. I swore that I would spend the rest of my life there, where nothing bad ever happens . . .
Captain Benjamín Nyman Vizcarra, son of the wealthiest man in Mexico, has everything a young man could want. But in the days leading up to the Mexican Revolution of 1910, he finds himself questioning whether he can support the old regime—and more and more distracted by his brother’s bewitching fiancee, Isabel. Setting out to expose her as a gold-digger, he instead falls deeply in love, setting himself on a path that leads to war, poverty, and alienation from his family.
Accused and convicted of his father’s murder after a fateful late-night encounter, Benjamín faces his inner demons, beginning a process that Swedenborg describes as regeneration. As he plots escape with a fellow prisoner, a Tarahumara Indian known only as El Brujo, he relives his love affair and eventual marriage to Isabel. A new question begins to form: will he run, or will he stay to confront his mistakes and win back the woman he loves?
The third book in Naomi Gladish Smith’s acclaimed series about souls in the afterlife follows a new group of seekers on their journey to heaven—or hell.
Kate Douglas, who spent a lifetime on earth teaching young students, in death finds herself at the Academy, a school for new arrivals in the afterlife. Barely accustomed to her new existence, she’s confronted with the soul of her troubled nephew Dan, who took his own life. Dan struggles to find his path in this new world, encountering the innocent Birgit, who in life was an abused girl, and the beautiful Pegeen, who draws him into the dangerous territory bordering hell. But even as Kate teams up with her friend Frank and budding angel Percy to try to help Dan face his inner demons, Kate must deal with her own issues: her helplessness at watching her husband Howard, still on earth and dying of a degenerative disease; her attraction to Frank; and an assignment to guide a particularly difficult new arrival named Janet. Their fates intertwine as each searches within to discover whether they ultimately bound for heaven or hell.
Inspired by Emanuel Swedenborg’s descriptions of the afterlife, Smith paints a vivid picture of the world of spirits, a spiritual realm between heaven and hell where inner truths are revealed and the distance between any two people is no more than a thought.
What might a spirit feel on first awakening in the afterlife? Fear, confusion, denial?
When Maggie Stevens, a former world-class gymnast, first awakens in a hospital bed, she is amazed that her body is pain-free. After all, she fell off a balance beam during a competition and crashed head-first onto the auditorium floor. What Maggie doesn't at first realize is that the hospital is like no place on earth. She meets other newly arrived "patients": Kate Douglas, a no-nonsense academic who suffered a heart attack; Ryan James, a handsome musician, who is recovering from a motorcycle crash; Frank Chambers, an ex-cop from Chicago, and Patrick Riley, a church organist, both of whom arrived from a Swiss cancer clinic; and Claire and Swen, a young couple running away from the army. When they all learn that they didn't recover from their illnesses and injuries, they go on an adventure to discover the nature of their new reality. Each must discover that their earthly choices and intentions paved the way for their final destination.
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