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QUICK NOTE...Update: 9/7/19

First of all, my heart goes out to all those affected by the recent heinous weather outbreaks, most recently being Hurricane Dorian. We were right in the path of Hurricane Michael (like so many others), and we're still trying to get back in our home. Things are very slow to progress towards normalcy...and every day presents a new headache/nightmare to deal with. Hopefully by month's end, we'll be back in there to start the next leg of recovery. Thanks for stopping by and sharing my bookish adventures. It helps remind me I'm not alone in this crazy journey called life.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

RRR presents... THE NINE LIVES OF JACOB FALLADA by Neil Randall - EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.


Today, we're joining Rachel's Random Resources for a stop along their current tour featuring a curious story that is getting rave reviews throughout the blogosphere.  It features the story of one young man's life, the good and the bad, put under the proverbial microscope for what seems to be a rather eye-opening journey through the pages.  Curious?  Well then, let's get to it!  Today's title in the spotlight is...



by
Neil Randall

About the book...
 Nine stories
 One artist
 The whole world against him

  The Nine Lives of Jacob Fallada is the story of an outsider, a lonely, misunderstood young artist who chronicles all the unpleasant things that happen to him in life. Abandoned by his parents, brought up be a tyrannical aunt, bullied at school, ostracized by the local community, nearly everyone Jacob comes into contact with takes an instant, (often) violent dislike towards him. Like Job from the bible, he is beaten and abused, manipulated and taken advantage of. Life, people, fate, circumstance force him deeper into his shell, deeper into the cocoon of his fledgling artistic work, where he records every significant event in sketches, paintings and short-form verse, documenting his own unique, eminently miserable human experience. At heart, he longs for companionship, intimacy, love, but is dealt so many blows he is too scared to reach out to anybody. On the fringes of society, he devotes himself solely to his art.



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~ ~ ~ EXCERPT ~ ~ ~

This scene pasted below is taken from the third chapter of the novel. The idea for this chapter was inspired by a true-life story a good friend of mine told me many years ago. One evening, he was due to meet his girlfriend at a pub in town; she’d been out all day celebrating a friend’s birthday. When he arrived, he found her in a hell of a state – drunk, slurring, could barely stand up. Such a state, in fact, he had a real struggle getting her out of the pub on his own. As he propped her up on a nearby bench and looked up and down the road for a taxi, a spiky, confrontational couple appeared out of nowhere. Instead of offering him assistance, they started to make pointed insinuations about the nature of the situation. They didn’t like what they saw – a defenceless young woman sprawled out on a bench, barely conscious, ‘off her face on God knows what’. Things quickly got out of hand. They accused of being a sexual predator. They accused him of spiking his own girlfriend’s drink! The whole scene escalated until they actually called the police.
     
There was something about the story I liked – the level of misunderstanding, the well-meaning couple getting the wrong end of the stick, my friend’s undoubted innocence in all of this; his exasperation. And I always had it in my mind to use it in a story one day.
To put the extract below into context, Jacob had just been barred from a coffee shop he used to regularly frequent, because the proprietor was tired of him sitting at a prime window seat table for hours drawing in his sketch book. This was as real blow for Jacob. Because he didn’t have anywhere else quiet to work on his pictures.




Of Christians and Cannibals

…Once outside, Jacob felt a gloomy depression set in. Reluctant to return to a home that wasn’t really his own, he decided to roam the now-dark small-town streets, to collect his thoughts, to focus his mind on finding a new location to conduct his artistic work in the future, somewhere remote, removed, where he wouldn’t risk coming into contact with nasty little people and their almost pathological dislike for him.

Lost in impotent thought, he was about to cross the road near the churchyard when he heard a pitiful moan.

Curious, he turned around and peered into the shadows.

Sprawled across a wooden bench, head lolling to the side, limbs splayed, as if suffering from injury or illness that required immediate medical attention, was what looked like a young woman.

Jacob walked over to investigate.

He was right.

In her early twenties, with dark tangled hair, much of it covering her face, the prostrate female wore a short, figure-hugging dress and high-heeled shoes. Due to the awkward angle in which she lay slumped, the dress had ridden up, revealing the tops of her shapely thighs and a hint of lacy black underwear.

Averting his eyes, Jacob crouched in front of her, spying an empty bottle of vodka mired in a pool of thick vomit. In the past, he had heard about this kind of drunkenness, read newspaper articles about disenfranchised young people who regularly sought oblivion through excessive alcohol intake. He knew, therefore, the dangers associated with binge-drinking, choking on vomit being the most perilous.

Are you all right?” he asked, covering his nose as the harsh stench of sick hit his nostrils.

She didn't respond—not in coherent words, anyway. She shifted slightly, mumbled, and raised a shaky hand, as if trying to bring Jacob's attention to something directly behind him. But when he turned his head, all he saw was the empty pavement and adjoining roadway bathed in street-light orange.

My name’s Jacob Fallada,” he almost shouted, as if talking to someone with impaired hearing. “I really think you should get home now. Would you like me to hail you a taxi?”

This time she didn’t respond at all.

He darted another look over his shoulder, hoping that somebody much better equipped to deal with the situation might be passing. But all he saw were the same empty pavements and bright orange street lights.

Resolved to help, to not leave a poor defenceless young woman to a dubious fate, he shook her shoulder, swept the thick matted hair from her eyes and lightly slapped her face. But again, she barely responded.

Right, I’m going to try and help you to stand up now,” he said, grabbing her under the arms and lifting her up from the bench.

Incredibly, her rubbery limbs responded. With one of her arms draped over his shoulders, one of his clasped around her waist, supporting the majority of her weight, he managed to walk her over to the side of the road.

But before he could even look up the street for an oncoming taxi, a sharp, challenging female voice rang out from the shadows of the night:

What do you think you’re doing?”

Both startled and overjoyed at this development, Jacob slowly shuffled himself and his drunken ward around to where that voice had emanated from.

Thank God.” He singularly failed to mask his relief as a man and woman made their way over to them. “I was just passing through town when I found this young woman sprawled across a bench. I think she’s had far too much to drink. I

You didn’t answer my question.”

For a second time that evening, Jacob blinked in confusion, puzzled not just by her words but confrontational tone.

What?”

No, you didn’t,” said her companion, a hulking, dangerous-looking individual with a shaven head and monstrous biceps bulging through a tight leather bomber jacket. “What are you doing here, in town, now, with her?”

Erm, I’m just a local artist out for a stroll.”

You what?” he said, stepping forward, puffing out his considerable chest. “You’re an artist, are you?”

That’s right,” said Jacob, adjusting his somewhat precarious hold on the woman, being careful not to lose his grip and send her crashing to the pavement. “A few minutes ago, I found the young lady here, on a bench, semi-conscious, moaning and groaning. And I wanted to make sure she got home unharmed.”

Even though Jacob felt as if he had just described the situation clearly and unequivocally, the couple looked far from convinced.

I don’t know, Steve,” the woman turned and said to her companion. “I don't like the look of this. She’s completely off her face, out of it, don’t know which day of the week it is…And look, her dress has been pulled right up, you can see her knickers.” She knelt before the young woman and tugged her dress down to cover her underwear. “I bet this bastard got her into this state. I bet he was planning on—”

What?” cried Jacob. “Don’t be so ridiculous!”

Is that what you did, pal?” said Steve. “Took advantage of that young girl in some bar, did you? Slipped something into her drink, a Mickey Finn, while she nipped to the toilets, then dragged her out here?”

No! Of course not. I—”

Shut it!” shouted the woman, glaring at Jacob over her shoulder. “Not another word out of you. If he opens his mouth again, Steve, wallop the bastard.”

With pleasure, Gladys, with bloody pleasure.” And Steve stepped in between Jacob and the pavement, blocking any potential escape route.

Gladys stood and straightened, put a hand on the drunken girl’s shoulder, and spoke slowly and loudly into her ear.

Are you all right, love? Had a bit too much to drink, eh? Don’t worry. We’re here now. We won’t let anything bad happen to you.”

Nudging Jacob out of the way, Gladys took hold of the drunken girl’s arm, and carefully sat her down on the church wall.

What’d you think we should do?” asked Steve.

Call the police, nothing else for it. If we hadn’t have come along, God knows what would’ve happened.”

Jacob rubbed both hands up and down his face. He knew exactly what these people were accusing him of but had no idea how to convince them otherwise.

Look,” he said. “I was merely trying to help. I just wanted to make sure she was all right. I—”

I bet you did,” said Gladys, jabbing a forefinger in Jacob’s direction. “See it on the news all the time—bloody date rapists. Bet you would’ve loved to have gotten your hands on a semi-comatose girl, wouldn’t you, eh? Don’t have to worry about consent or getting knocked back then, do you? Huh! Your kind disgusts me.”

My kind?”

Yeah, your kind—scruffy, grubby perverts, sex fiends, paedophiles.”

As Gladys listed further undesirable elements she now associated with Jacob, two young women walked over to the side of the road. Both wore stylish trouser suits, as if they had just left the office after a late meeting.

What’s going on?” the taller, darker-haired of the two asked. “What’s happened?”

Gladys stepped forward.

We just caught that piece of shit over there”—again, she thrust an accusing forefinger in Jacob’s direction—“about to sexually assault this poor young lass. Looks like date rape, that he slipped something into her drink and—”

Wait just a minute!” cried Jacob. “You did nothing of the sort.” He turned to the newcomers. “Five minutes ago, I, very innocently, walked past a bench in the churchyard and saw the young lady there”—he hitched a thumb over his shoulder—“in clear distress. I tried to speak to her, but she was far too intoxicated to respond. Concerned for her welfare, I attempted to hail her a—”

Cor!” spat Gladys. “You’ve got your cover story off pat, ain’t yer? When me and Steve got here, he was all over that vulnerable girl, her skirt was up round her neck. He were like a wild bloody animal.”

That’s simply not true,” said Jacob, bewildered by these blatant untruths and baseless accusations.

It does look pretty bad, though,” said the shorter, slighter, softer spoken of the two women. “I mean, what are you doing out here, at night, on a park bench, next to a woman who’s clearly been drugged in some way? Who are you? What do you do for living?”

A living?” said Jacob, struggling to take all of this in, to understand quite how he’d got himself into this awful position. “I’m an artist.”

An artist?” she said, doubtfully. “Everybody says that, don’t they?—especially those from the deviant classes. And you do hear about this type of thing a lot these days: men drugging women in pubs and clubs, bundling them into the back of a taxi, and taking them to some seedy flea-pit, dark alleyway or convenient churchyard to subject them to all kinds of abominations.”

Exactly,” said Gladys, nodding enthusiastically. “I’m just glad we came along in the nick of time.”

Look,” said Jacob, resolving to put up a full defence of himself. “I’ve done nothing wrong. I can assure you.” Again he addressed himself to the two young women. “When they walked over, I wasn’t attacking anyone—far from it. I was—”

Only because we startled you,” said Gladys. “Jesus! He had his prick halfway out of his trousers, didn’t he, Steve?”

Yep. Looked that way to me.”

Jacob was too appalled to speak, to even attempt to refute such a preposterous claim.

So, what are we going to do?” asked the dark-haired woman. “We can’t leave him alone with her. We’ve got to do something.”

Call the police,” said Gladys. “Wait until they get here. Tell them what we saw. Then let them deal with him.”




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About the author...

 

Neil Randall is the author of seven published novels and a collection of short stories. His work has been published in the UK, US, Australia and Canada.


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UP FOR GRABS...
(3) Copies of The Nine Lives of Jacob Fallada
(UK Only)


*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.



a Rafflecopter giveaway







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Special thanks to Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for the chance to bring this tour to you. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, this tour, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above. Be sure to check out the rest of the tour as it makes its way through the blogosphere...



Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!



1 comment:

So many books, so little time said...

Great giveaway, good luck all & thank you for the chance xxx

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

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