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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Literary
  • Language:English
  • Pages:50
  • eBook ISBN:9781617926204

The Man Who Was Made From Bakelite

by D J Westlake

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This is a story of love and is written in the style of it's setting – the 1920's. It is a heart-warming, meaningful read. It's 1926 and a young man, Art Cavender, has invented Bakelite and amassed a substantial fortune – his riches allow him every pleasure, every materialistic gain. However, there is something missing from his life. The real, yet unacknowledged love from his grandfather tries to guide him. The story compares the artificiality of this man-made, modern substance and compares it to the 'Man' who was made from Bakelite.
Some things change over time – music, fashion, architecture, art – styles come and go in a constant flux. But people: do we learn from previous generations or is it completely necessary to repeat the mistakes of our forefathers before being satisfied we have experienced all senses available to us? From fictional conversations between a young man and his grandfather over just one weekend, you will get to know these two enigmatic men and learn of past family members, and you will peer into their heads, hearts and souls as they flounder with the grief of lost loved ones, enduring psychologically disturbing episodes which they struggle to master, marred by the non-actions of their fathers and also of each other. Art Cavender is desperately encouraged by his grandfather Cecil Beaumont to realise the essentials of life before making a grave error, but Art’s fear of not being perceived as a great man constantly undermines Cecil’s guidance. Time is running out and Cecil knows it – will Art take heed? Set in 1926, a time indeed of great change, the world is rebounding from the Great War financially and spiritually. The possibility of a second war is lurking, causing traditional values to be questioned and the pace of life to quicken. The age-old questions of generational differences are the core of this impassioned story, but it is for the reader to decide how similar, or otherwise, these two men are. THE FIRST GENUINE BOOK REVIEW: "I just finished your book and I’ve been amazed and astonished. You’ve written such a beautifully phrased story: so measured and rhythmic. It transports to a definite world where you meet people you believe in. At first I felt you were writing a tribute or a pastiche, and to some extent you are. That is where you borrow the language, ideas and mores of the 1920's: but it does more. It takes its ideas out of the story, because many of the issues about relationships and art and progress are universal. It’s also paced so well, so very much in the atmosphere of its surrounds, these people and their particular view of civilization. You have such a good sense of rhythm: you really know how to write: it is the highest accolade to write something that is a joy to read out loud. That’s what you’ve done. Not to mention making it all so utterly credible with the accuracy of the references. It’s a splendid piece: thoughtful, learned, believable and – best of all – interesting and fruitful".
About the author
This is D J Westlake’s debut novel. He is 37 and lives in Hertfordshire with his wife Debbie and two children, Amity and Jacob. He studied at the Hertfordshire College of Art and Design in St Albans, and has for 20 years followed a career as a graphic designer, chiefly involved with magazine and book design. His interests are modernist architecture, particularly the works of Le Corbusier and Berthold Lubetkin – and reading novels written around the early 20th century especially those of F Scott Fitzgerald, E M Forster, Ernest Hemingway and Virginia Woolf. He greatly admires the way these authors write – their skilful use of the English language and their confident characters, often with ‘clipped’ upper-class speech and strong direct attitudes. In no way does the author claim to be capable of emulating these great writers, but would like to credit and thank them for their influences. It is 1920s and ’30s design too – whether fashion, automotive, architectural or graphic – that he so admires, and so this tale is set within that era of great advancement, allowed by the prospect of automated, cheap mass-production, between the war years, largely influenced of course by the Bauhaus. As a material, Bakelite’s arrival sat very well within the great age of travel, streamlined styling, modernist architecture and, quite literally, revolutionary graphics. Bakelite was the ultimate utopian material, a new substance, and as such was an indication of how humankind was changing faster than ever before.
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