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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:African American & Black / Mystery & Detective
  • Language:English
  • Pages:258
  • eBook ISBN:9780972594752

Galena and Erik

The Tortured Mother-Son Relationship of a Child Conceived in Rape

by John duVal

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A densely plotted novel starring the Erik, a musical prodigy whose lengthy history is half hard-boiled Jim Thompson mayhem and half Martha Grimes youthful fantasia, heavily laden with crime, war (both international and domestic), alcoholism and, ultimately, personal triumph.
duVal’s debut begins in 1928 with an identity change for Klaus Altman, whose ties to the Philadelphia mob forces him to go undercover as Max Anders, future husband of Galena Baldwin. No angel herself, the-year-old Galena, deceived in a dark alley, finds herself pregnant. She blackmails Max into marriage. They move away together, to escape the unwanted attentions of her stepfather and the Mafia. and live unhappily ever after. When Erik is born, his red hair sours any maternal feelings Galena might have had; she loathes her child on sight, as he is a reminder of the man who seduced her. A boozy calm ensues as Max, Galena and Erik negotiate various forms of a separate peace. And there’s music, by way of Erik’s grandmother, an opera singer, and Erik's musical genius. But then the past catches up with them; sexy, sinister Trouper Pete, another of Galena’s ersatz involvements, makes things more difficult, as does the charmingly evil Det. Wakely. Bodies turn up, lies and debauchery take their toll. As Erik’s home life disintegrates, his sexuality burgeons; he takes up with wise young Allen at university and even more complexities of the sexual, familial and social sorts arise. Ultimately, in a delightful twist, Erik’s dream to become a symphony orchestra conductor comes true while he serves in the Army during the Korean conflict,. duVal’s intricate plotting, and concern for even the most troubled of his characters and their twisted relationships are the real payoff; Galena may be a manipulative harridan, but she’s a fascinating wreck whose every action enthralls. And son Erik could charm the pants off, well, anyone he likes. An engrossing read.
About the author
Well, it all started with a pushy opera singer, my paternal grandmother. Of course for me, her favorite grandchild, there was a piano/music lesson while I sat on her lap in front of her Steinway, every day, sometimes twice a day. At the moment I turned four, she pushed me onto the stage to perform Mozart's Rondo a la Turca, at the local Grange Hall. From then on, year by year she arranged for performances at more sophisticated venues and elevated my repertoir to concert stage suitability until by the time I reached ten, I played a concerto with SYU orchestra. Sixteen years zoomed by, the US Air Force, Korea, Japan, then the boring bio stuff i.e. University of the Pacific, classes at the Juilliard, then eighteen years teaching in Canada, teaching piano master classes at Universities throught Canada and the US; too cold in Calgary, moved to La Jolla, low bordome threashold, became a successful abstract artist, endured four strokes, no more painting, no more piano playing, and guess what I'm doing now?