Sunday, June 17, 2012

Daphne before She Died

Coming soon to an Amazon web site near you: Daphne before She Died, a new novel by Michael Allen.

Well, actually it's newish. I wrote this book about twelve years ago, and published it as a trade paperback. In those days it had a different title, and I used a female pen-name. It sold about as well as you would expect, i.e. about 100 copies, mostly to libraries, and it washed its face financially. I took it out of print a while back because it had stopped selling. Since then I have revised it somewhat, and given it a new title and a new cover. I am using my own name this time.

Here's what Kirkus Reviews had to say about this book, first time around:
This account of two reckless love affairs in the early 1960s is primarily concerned with the emotional fallout of these obsessive relationships and their effect on the people involved in them. Robert Duval, son of a French father and English mother, has been approached by Daphne, his old housemaster's wife. She is dying and wants a record of the momentous year when she became passionately involved with one of the boys in her husband's House.

But hers was not the only torrid affair that year - Robert himself was initiated into the delights of the flesh by a nubile 18-year-old French girl, and Daphne's request stirs up memories of his own youthful infatuation.
Public schools [i.e. boys boarding schools in England] operated according to their own codes of morality - a little discreet homosexuality was acceptable, but striking up a physical relationship with a woman was considered unacceptable. Yet the couples seemed fearless in the pursuit of their desires, almost as if the strength of their feelings rendered them immune to discovery.
 The novel dissects issues of secrecy and truth in sexual relationships. Both Daphne's husband, Ben, and Robert's mother knew about the affairs, yet they kept that knowledge to themselves. Ben knew that Daphne's loyalties would always lie with him, and that the end of the school year would mark the end of the affair. Robert's mother knew that once Suzanne returned to France the passion would burn itself out. Yet years later, even though both affairs are long over, the memories of that obsession are as strong as ever for both Robert and Daphne.
This is a fascinating account of the consuming power of  sexual passion, and a remarkable insight into the claustrophobic world of traditional public-school life.
That's a pretty good review really, isn't it? Perhaps I'm justified in seeing it as one of my better efforts.

Anyway, the new improved version of this novel is coming out again within a week or two. In the meantime, if it sounds like the sort of thing that you might enjoy reading, after which you are encouraged to write a review on Amazon, please drop me a line -- address in profile -- and I will get you a free copy for your Kindle. This offer holds good for the first ten applicants or till the end of July, whichever comes first.


Joan Price said...

The Kirkus review is positive and intriguing -- I definitely want to read this book. I'm always interested in books by authors of our age who don't shy away from writing about sexuality.

Joan Price

Author of Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex and Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty.

Join us -- we're talking about ageless sexuality at

sri said...
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Lifeology said...

Hello, this is my first time visiting your blog. "Daphne before she died" sounds wonderful. I read that you were giving copies away, if this is true, may I have one?
I would like to write my own book. Yes, I know, everyone does, but as you have proven, some actually do. I hope to be one of them. Any advice?

Lifeology said...
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KeiraDoltan said...
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