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Prize-winning gay writer releases new novel

Fri 21 Sep 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

Award-winning openly-gay author and film director Peter Wells says his new novel, released today, was inspired by Sound Archive tapes of World War II soldiers talking about their experiences in and after the war. Decorated war hero Captain Eric Keeling is the central character in Lucky Bastard. He was a Japanese prisoner of war and later became an investigator of Japanese war crimes. He struggles with alcoholism, a broken first marriage, and dysfunctional relationships with his two children. Now eighty, Keeling has ailing health and severe memory loss, and his middle-aged gay son Ross moves him into a home. When daughter Alison returns from the UK, she, a historian, and later a current affairs TV researcher look into what could be a dark secret in Captain Keeling's wartime past. Did he send an innocent man to his death as an act of revenge? "The novel is about two things - the modesty of these men who fought in the war - and the difficulty of getting to know them as a son, or daughter," explains Wells. "It's about generational differences, different ways of doing things, seeing things, coming to terms with things. Blotting out or speaking up perhaps too loud." Wells' Dangerous Desires collection, containing several pieces describing homosexual encounters, won 1992 NZ Book Award for Fiction and 1992 PEN Best First Book in Prose Award. His memoir, Long Loop Home, won the Biography Category of the 2002 Montana NZ Book Awards. Wells' until now most recent book Iridescence was runner-up for the 2004 Deutz Medal for Fiction and shortlisted for the prestigious Tasmania Pacific Fiction Prize 2005. His insightful occasional articles in local mainstream media often explore issues around what it means to be gay in New Zealand today. Written while Wells was the University of Waikato's 'Writer in Residence', Lucky Bastard will be launched this evening at the University's Academy of Performing Arts.     Ref: Random House, (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Friday, 21st September 2007 - 11:52am

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