The Phantom Glare of Day
Historical (Metaphysical) Fiction / Coming of Age Fiction
Publication Date: November 1, 2022
Page Count: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1684631750 / ISBN-13: 978-1684631759
Page count: 306 pages
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In this trio of novellas, three game young ladies enter into dangerous liaisons that test each one’s limits and force them to confront the most heartrending issues facing society in the early twentieth century. The Phantom Glare of Day tells of Sophie, a young lady who has lived a sheltered life and consequently has no idea how cruel public-school bullying can be. When she meets Jarvis, a young man obsessed with avenging all those students who delight in his daily debasement, she resolves to intervene before tragedy unfolds.
Mouvements Perpétuels tells of Cäcilia, a young lady shunned by her birth father. She longs for the approval of an older man, so when her ice-skating instructor attempts to take advantage of her, she cannot resist. Not a month later, she realizes that she is pregnant and must decide whether or not to get an abortion.
Passion Bearer tells of Manon, a young lady who falls in love with a beautiful actress after taking a post as a script girl for a film company—and is subsequently confronted with the pettiest kinds of homophobia.
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READ AN EXCERPT!
London, 29 September, 1917.
Early that morning at the Chelsea Court Hotel, Cäcilia finally realized that last month’s assignation with her ice-skating instructor had left her pregnant. For the longest time, she paced about her suite and debated the question of what might be the best way to tell him. Whatever she said, Herr Wechseljahr would be galled. The old man would almost certainly accuse her of being marriage-minded, and he would insist that she had planned everything all along. At some point, too, he would be sure to lament her upcoming debut.
“For so long, I’ve been choreographing that glorious ice ballet,” he would tell her. “And you treat me like this?”
At nine o’clock, when Cäcilia reached Empress Avenue Ice Arena, she continued into the grand antechamber but then stopped. How do I tell him the bad news?
In time, the wintry air of the electric skating palace made her teeth chatter. Worse still, the aroma of the snack bar’s freshly-brewed, Cadbury drinking chocolate happened to be very strong that day—strong enough to make her retch.
The ice arena’s various loudspeakers crackled to life, and as she continued to convulse, a warped recording of Édouard Lalo’s “Ballade à la lune” commenced.
As the music played, several diminutive schoolgirls laced up and ventured off into the imponderable beauty of the oval rink.
Cäcilia climbed into the hard-oak terrace, and she watched the most winsome of the children perform a fan spiral.
The Lalo recording concluded, and the vast skating palace grew as quiet as the ruins of the Colosseum.
Cäcilia’s thoughts turned to Knightsbridge Casino. One week earlier, she had lost a considerable amount at the baccarat table. As such, she did not have sufficient funds to hire someone to tend to a newborn baby. Before long, she turned to one of the loudspeakers.
If only another recording would begin—and disrupt the quietude, the solemnity.
From the direction of the snack bar, the aroma of Cadbury drinking chocolate grew even more sickly-sweet. Worse yet, the scent of the pungent Cocoa Essence had begun to commingle with the smoldering lampblack odor of the rubber tiles surrounding the boards.
Down on the ice, the little girl from before, the one who had performed the fan spiral, commenced a series of intricate step sequences.
And now the door to the grand antechamber opened, and Herr Wechseljahr made his entrance. When he reached the terrace, he flashed a proud, fatherly smile and greeted Cäcilia with his customary Roman salute.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
M. Laszlo is the pseudonym of a reclusive author living in Bath, Ohio. According to rumor, he based the pen name on the name of the Paul Henreid character in Casablanca, Victor Laszlo.
M. Laszlo has lived and worked all over the world, and he has kept exhaustive journals and idea books corresponding to each location and post.
It is said that the maniacal habit began in childhood during summer vacations—when his family began renting out Robert Lowell’s family home in Castine, Maine.
The habit continued in 1985 when, as an adolescent, he spent the summer in London, England. In recent years, he revisited that journal/idea book and based his first work, The Phantom Glare of Day, on the characters, topics, and themes contained within the youthful writings. In crafting the narrative arcs, he decided to divide the work into three interrelated novellas and to set each one in the WW-I era so as to make the work as timeless as possible.
M. Laszlo has lived and worked in New York City, East Jerusalem, and several other cities around the world. While living in the Middle East, he worked for Harvard University’s Semitic Museum. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio and an M.F.A. in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York.
His next work is forthcoming from SparkPress in 2024. There are whispers that the work purports to be a genuine attempt at positing an explanation for the riddle of the universe and is based on journals and idea books made while completing his M.F.A. at Sarah Lawrence College.
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