Friday, July 24, 2009

"The Embers"

Hyatt Bass is the writer, producer, director of the award-winning feature film, Seventy Five Degrees in July.

She applied the “Page 69 Test” to The Embers, her first novel, and reported the following:
Page 69 is not fully representative of the book in that it focuses exclusively on Joe, and the novel is about the entire Ascher family. Moving between Joe, his ex-wife Laura, and his daughter Emily (and also between past and present), The Embers forms a portrait of a family haunted by tragedy and yearning to rekindle the deep bonds they once shared.

Thematically, though, there’s a lot in this page that gives a sense of the journeys of these characters. Joe, a famous playwright, has been unable to work since the death of his son, Thomas, fifteen years before—an event that devastated the family and that has been blamed on Joe. He is now at a hotel in the Midwest, where he has been sent to write a travel piece for a magazine, but is trying desperately to write a new play. There are two scenes here (the tail-end of one, and the beginning of another). In the first, Joe chats with Ingrid, a precocious adolescent girl he’s befriended in the hotel garden. With her lofty dreams and lively personality, Ingrid reminds him of his daughter, Emily at a time when she was still innocent—not only because of her age but because she had not yet experienced the heartbreak of Thomas’s death. In the second scene, Joe listens to tapes of his old work—mostly one-man shows about the deception and cruelty that often riddles adult relationships. In the wonderfully naïve Ingrid, he sees the potential for new subject matter and a new play that he hopes will win back Emily’s respect and affection. Like his daughter and his ex-wife, he longs for redemption and reconciliation, and searches—often clumsily—for a way to reconnect.
Read an excerpt from The Embers, and view the video trailer.

Learn more about the book and author at Hyatt Bass' website.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue