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'A compelling and very entertaining look at the complexities of our hyperreal age, an insightful and witty exploration of the disconnect between image and reality, truth and appearance and whether love and sincere sentiment can overcome the short term thrills of social media.' James Miller

For Jeff Brennan, juggling multiple identities is a way of life.

Online he has dozens of different personalities and switches easily between them. Offline, he shows different faces to different people: the caring grandson, the angry eco-protester, the bored IT consultant.

So when the beautiful Marie mistakes him for a famous blogger, he thinks nothing of adding this new identity to his repertoire.

But as they fall in love and start building a life together, Jeff is gradually forced into more and more desperate measures to maintain his new identity, and the boundaries between his carefully segregated personas begin to fray.

In a world where truth is a matter of perspective and identities are interchangeable, Jeff finds himself trapped in his own web of lies. How far will he go to maintain his secrets? And even if he wanted to turn back, would he be able to?



Publié par
Date de parution 01 avril 2013
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781909039476
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0550€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Legend Press Ltd, 2 London Wall Buildings, London EC2M 5UU info@legend-paperbooks.co.uk www.legendpress.co.uk
Contents © Andrew Blackman 2013
The right of the above author to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data available.
Print ISBN 978-1-9090394-5-2 Ebook ISBN 978-1-9090394-7-6
Set in Times Printed by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY
Cover design by Gudrun Jobst www.yotedesign.com
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher. Any person who commits any unauthorised act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.
Praise for Andrew’s writing

A Virtual Love

‘A compelling tale, told from several perspectives, about the identity that people project about themselves in the social media world and the real life identity that we all cannot escape from. A fascinating, modern story that had me gripped.’ Award-winning author Alex Wheatle MBE
‘A compelling and very entertaining look at the complexities of our hyper-real age, an insightful and witty exploration of the disconnect between image and reality, truth and appearance and whether love and sincere sentiment can overcome the short term thrills of social media.’ James Miller

On the Holloway Road

Winner of the 2008 Luke Bitmead Writer’s Bursary.
Short-listed for the Dundee International book prize.
‘A beautifully written story about friendship and the longing for adventure in an increasingly demystified world, and the eternal question of what life is all about.’ Zoë Jenny, best-selling Swiss author of The Pollen Room
‘Blackman’s wonderful book is a modern-day road trip filled with quirky characters and locations. He writes beautifully, making the mundane extraordinary and the everyday fascinating.’ Deborah Wright, best-selling author
‘There are echoes of Jack Kerouac in this freewheeling adventure down the CCTV-ed, drizzly corridors of modern Britain.’ Daily Mail
To all those who demand the impossible.
Andrew Blackman is 36 and is the author of On the Holloway Road , published by Legend Press in 2009. The book won the Luke Bitmead Writer’s Bursary and was shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize.
Blackman lives in the UK, but previously spent six years in New York, where he worked as a staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal . His work has also been published in Monthly Review , the Cincinnati Post , Pittsburgh Post-Gazette , Seattle Times , Tampa Tribune , Toronto’s Globe and Mail , Post Road, Carillon , Smoke , and in books by Twenty Stories Publishing, Greenacre Writers and Leaf Books, and he won the 2004 Daniel Singer essay prize. Andrew has a degree in modern history from Oxford University and a Master’s in journalism from Columbia University.

Visit Andrew at www.andrewblackman.net
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 1
The clock ticked loudly in the silent front room. We looked at it, so that we didn’t have to look at each other. The hands of the clock were all that moved, apart from some fine particles of dust swirling in the still, warm air. I know you always hated that clock, but you watched it anyway. The movement of the hands was imperceptible, but we knew that if we looked long enough, three o’clock would become three fifteen, three fifteen would become three thirty, and then an acceptable time would have arrived for you to make your excuses and leave.
The clock is an old family heirloom, of course, although nobody can remember quite whose family. There’s an engraving on the face: Noakes & Sons. At one time I’d planned to track down the company and so, perhaps, to deduce which long-dead person had one day walked into a shop with several months’ savings and emerged with a fine, modern timepiece to impress the neighbours. But now it hardly seems to matter.
I still wind the clock every Sunday morning, though, just as I have wound it every Sunday morning for the past fifty years. The sound of the old iron key cranking in the cog soothes me as much now as it did on those faraway Sunday mornings in the old house in Tunbridge Wells, when I snuggled beneath the eiderdown and listened to my father winding the clock out in the hall. Immediately after that, my mother would come in and pull the eiderdown back, exposing my small body to the cold, damp air and say, ‘Come on Arthur, get a wriggle on or you’ll be late for Sunday school.’ Soon bacon would be sizzling in the pan while porridge bubbled on the stove, and my parents would talk softly through the steam rising from their tea, and then it would be the long, cold walk to the big, cold church for hours of listening to things I didn’t understand, and home again for lunch and homework and piano practice and dinner and bed, and then back up again in no time for Monday morning and another week of school. I sometimes used to imagine that if one Sunday my father forgot to wind the clock, this strange round of activity would never begin. It would always be Sunday morning, and I would always be an eight year old boy snuggling under the warm eiderdown, listening to the quiet. But my father never forgot.
When he died, the clock passed to me. He never told me where the clock came from or why it was so important to him. All I had was the vague label of ‘family heirloom’. Still, for fifty years I have taken care of it with a devotion that, I hope, would have made him proud. Only recently has the memory of those mornings in Tunbridge Wells returned to me, and on some Sunday mornings now I am seized by the puerile urge to stay in bed and see what will happen when the ticking stops. But sense and habit always win, and I get out of bed at the usual time and shuffle downstairs to wind the clock.
‘What are you thinking about, Granddad?’ you asked.
Your sudden intrusion made me jump. At my age, of course, jumping has long been out of the question, but my body did jerk up a little out of the soft armchair, and I could feel my pulse quickening and my breath becoming momentarily short. Then I saw you sitting across from me, remembered who you were and who I was, and softened my face into a kindly chocolate-box smile. ‘Just listening to the clock,’ I said.
The only sign of your frustration was a slight tightening of your fingers on your knee, making the rough denim crinkle upwards to reveal a grey sock and an inch of pale, hairy ankle. But I noticed this and knew the cause. You’ve asked me so many times how I could spend hours just listening to the ticking of a clock. The idea seems to threaten you. I’ve noticed that, in the silent times between conversations, you often shoot murderous glances at the poor old clock. I could understand such a sentiment in someone my own age: once you’ve passed eighty, the ticking of a clock can sometimes come to sound like clods of earth dropping steadily onto the lid of your coffin. But you are young. You have all the time in the world, and yet it never seems to be enough for you.
I still blame your mother, God rest her soul. TV would educate you, she said, and video games would develop your reflexes. But she never understood that if only bright colours, flashing lights and noise could hold your attention, then simple pleasures like the ticking of a clock, the flow of a river or the passage of clouds across the sky would always be foreign to you. You would always have to be doing something, even if there was no purpose to it. As a child you could never sit still, and as a teenager it was worse. When your parents died and you came to live with us, you said it was as if you had died as well. Our house was boring. We were boring. There was nothing to do. You buried yourself in your computer, and when you were forced to spend time with us, you just kept looking around, waiting for something to happen. It was the same this afternoon, as you perched on the edge of the sofa, your fingers fidgeting with the fabric, your foot drumming on the carpet, your eyes roving the room for something to grab hold of. I always think it must be rather sad to live that way, unable to exist without either entertaining or being entertained. Once you even turned up on my doorstep attached to earphones, only removing them hurriedly as I started to speak. I asked you somewhat shortly, ‘When did you last experience complete silence?’ You looked at me as if I were senile.
So now I am always sure to avoid such confrontations. I want you to keep coming. I enjoy your visits, and I know that Daisy does too, despite what the doctors say. Never mind all their degrees and qualifications, they don’t know Daisy the way I do. To them she’s an object to be studied. When they decided there was no hope of recovery, they lost interest and passed her along from hand to hand like an unwanted complaint letter. There was no upside for them. No miracle cure, no grateful relatives. There was just ‘palliative care’ as they called it, filling her with pills to dull the pain (‘make her more comfortable’) until the day, quite soon, when she would die. But I know Daisy. I’ve known her for fifty years. I know that she’s still with me, even if she can’t speak or smile. On the days when you’re due to visit, I know she gets excited. Then when you’re here, sitting across from her sipping tea and chatting, she looks different. To anyone else she’d appear the s

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