One of the unlooked for gifts of virtual launches has been the ability to bring together not only an audience from different parts of the globe, but also to have authors from different places in one virtual space, sharing their work and creating encounters enriched by both the different and similar threads that weave into and out of their narratives.
This was certainly the case tonight at the launch of Aldermaston by Kate Hoyland and The Pathless Country by James Harpur.
Set in both the future and the past with the strapline: the future is a thing of the past, Aldermaston journeys with Jean, an archeologist of a future, wading through a drowning world and determined, at the end of her life, to find a time capsule from the 1950s. And it travels also with Ida, 19, searching for a life that breaks the stultifying conventions of post-War Britain and burying a time capsule, a love letter to the future, before joining the first ban the bomb protest in 1958.
Set in turn of the century cosmopolitan London among the glamour of theosophical circles and in rural Ireland in the early part of the First World War and the lead up the 1916 Easter Rising, The Pathless Country walks with Patrick Bowley as he preaches peace and makes an epic pilgrimage, discovering the true nature of ‘the pathless country’.
Both books feature protagonists who are prepared to challenge the societies they find themselves, prepared to find lonelier yet more authentic routes through life. Both raise questions about the nature of self, service and meaning and both place strong emphasis on landscape as a character that interacts with these important questions.
If you missed the launch you can catch up with the video here and the discount code in the video is good through October.