A Synopsis of The Book

It occurred to me that I should probably tell people what this book I’m writing is about. So here’s a synopsis:

A middle-aged divorcee living in London meets Katya, an intriguing Russian-American woman some eight years his junior on a popular online dating site. With her facial piercings, bohemian style, and artsy outlook she is not his usual type but the two get along fabulously well and soon they are embarked on what promises to be a healthy, long-term relationship.

Then one morning, after a romantic night together, Katya reveals a secret about her past which destroys all his assumptions and makes him realise that he doesn’t know this woman at all. Only he is hopelessly in love, and so instead of leaving he decides to stay with her in the hope her past is behind her and there are no more secrets to be revealed. But the more he learns about Katya the more questions are raised: why did she divorce her husband back in New York? Why is she so drawn to the Burning Man festival that takes place each year in Nevada’s Black Rock desert? And why is she with him in the first place?

In an effort to find out he accompanies her to Brooklyn and enters the world which has shaped her life since she fled Moscow and her estranged family a decade before. What he discovers forces him to confront his own weaknesses and insecurities and question just how far he is willing to go in accepting Katya once the truth is known.

The book is written in the first person and is set on the Eurostar between Paris and London where the protagonist is recounting his experience to some friends, a married couple, he met by chance at Gare du Nord. The actual story takes place in London, moves to New York, and then comes back to London with a brief visit to Vilnius somewhere in the middle.

The themes that are touched on are, to varying degrees (I can’t list all of them because of spoilers): the middle-age dating scene for men, online dating, what men expect from romantic partners in middle-age, the difference in mindset between men in their twenties and middle-aged men vis-a-vis romantic relations, women’s sexual history and how men view them, Russian women and other aspects of Russia, third-wave feminism (and its effect on young women), drug use, sex, artsy types, Burning Man, Brooklyn’s arts scene, and the general interaction between a man and a woman from very different worlds when they attempt to form a relationship.

I appreciate it might not be everybody’s cup of tea but I wrote it mainly because I reckoned I had a complete story with this one, and that’s half the battle. I’ve kept it as realistic as possible in the hope that people – both men and women – will be able to relate to the characters and situations, or at least find it interesting. I am confident that I am saying something different, stuff that hasn’t been put into writing before, at least not in novel format. I’m also confident that the story is interesting enough and my writing is good enough that people will like it.

Only one way to find out, though.

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9 thoughts on “A Synopsis of The Book

  1. Put me down for an ecopy too.

    It mirrors, somewhat, my own situation. Single in late middle age, without millions of dollars to my name, the only two women about my own age I find interesting and attractive are both married – one to a friend (and the other is my ex-wife). Most of the others horrify me. Fortunately, I enjoy my own company.

    I am not any young girl’s dream, for sure, and wonder if the apparently lovely girls on websites seeking foreigners are real and serious or, as seems more likely, just in it for money.

    Does anybody have any direct experience which allows them to comment?

  2. From the various anecdotes you’ve dropped over on David Thompson’s place, I’m looking forward to this one. I will say this, though, in reply to your comment on the previous post:

    it’s realistic, romantic fiction written from a man’s perspective and takes a swipe at third-wave feminism and how it has corrupted a vulnerable young women. I can’t see the oh-so-modern women who dominate publishing houses these days signing off on that.

    They won’t sign off on it because women won’t read it, and that’s the target demographic for romantic fiction. The closest thing to “realistic romantic fiction written from a man’s perspective” is Nicholas Sparks, and even his stuff is still squarely within the usual romance novel tropes.

    I suspect you’ll find a decent number of men interested in reading your work, but I doubt there’s enough of us to interest a publisher. Fortunately, that’s the beauty of electronic self-publishing.

  3. They won’t sign off on it because women won’t read it, and that’s the target demographic for romantic fiction.

    As Billy Joel sang, you may be right, but I am hoping women will read it because it provides an insight into how middle-aged men on the dating scene think and what they are looking for (or not looking for). I have a female friend reading each section as I finish it, she’s very representative of the type of woman I’d be looking to target, and she thinks women would like it.

    But as I keep saying, there’s only one way to find out. 🙂

  4. I am intrigued. I used to travel to the Soviet Union while it was still the Evil Empire. I went a few times with a colleague who was part of a group working with the Russians right after the Chernobyl disaster to understand it.

    He married a young Russian woman he met there who started out as informant for the KGB. What a tale that was.

  5. “I appreciate it might not be everybody’s cup of tea”

    I think you will be somewhat surprised, done well, those themes will resonate with many.

  6. I think you will be somewhat surprised, done well, those themes will resonate with many.

    That’s what I’m hoping! 🙂

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