FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“In Another Country, and Besides” takes you on a sprawling adventure that will leave you questioning and breathless
Maxwell Jacobs weaves a tense tale of love, desperation and uncertainty.
Zürich, Switzerland – “In Another Country, and Besides” opens with a startling and striking scene, and immediately launches into a piercing novel rife with tension, nostalgia and excitement.
Harry Hoffman, who is more than just the simple writer he wants to be, is a character you won’t soon forget. A somber and scarred man, he is desperate to escape a past that lingers in the corners of his mind. When he meets the exquisite Cleo, he sees a chance for a fresh start, but complications grow from their tenuous relationship, and Harry is tempted into behavior that threatens his new way of life. His love of Cleo and all that she offers is a powerful force that threatens to consume anyone and anything in its path.
What is hidden in Harry’s past that he is running from, and will those memories catch up with him? Does he have the strength to make himself a new man, or will he revert to his old patterns?
Maxwell Jacobs has created a vivid and moving experience that takes you across post-war Europe and into the mind of a character unlike any you have met before. “In Another Country, and Besides” is an expressive adventure that will linger in your mind and leave you questioning what is right, what is wrong, what is real, and what matters.
Maxwell Jacobs grew up in the north of England, before moving to New York to work in the publishing industry. Throughout his 20’s he lived in Paris to devote himself to writing. In his early 30’s he moved to Mexico, before moving to Switzerland to begin In Another Country, and Besides.
About the book
In Another Country, and Besides, tells the confessional story of Harry Hoffman, an expatriate living in post-war continental Europe. During a time of moral bankruptcy, dissolution, and unrealized love, Harry is a lost soul with a sinister past.
Our story begins in Venice, where our protagonist meets Cleo, who offers him an unexpected love affair and a chance to start over. But when this newfound happiness is threatened and their affair is strained by new passions, jealousies and other men, Harry slips back to his old ways and plots his revenge. This takes him on a great variety of adventures and experiences -from Zurich, and the Swiss Alps, to the Cote d’Azur and finally to Paris, irresistibly drawn back to the great, sprawling city he had once fled in bitterness and disgust.
From its violence, ignorance and cruelty, to its joy and mystery, In Another Country, and Besides is told in a language of great simplicity and power of loyalty and courage, love and defeat and the tragic death of an ideal that shows vividly Jacobs own expatriate experiences and by doing so, has created a story with the mass and movement of an epic novel.
“In Another Country, and Besides”
Maxwell Jacobs | Feb. 13, 2018 | Morgan James
Paperback | 978-1683505310 | $15.95
e-book | 9781683508397 | $9.99
An Interview with Maxwell Jacobs
You’ve traveled a lot throughout your life. What is your favorite place to write?
Having lived in Paris for most of my adult life, it was and is still, a very good place to work. But in general I have worked well everywhere. I enjoy writing in old hotels in the swiss alps and farm houses in Provence, France. But the best writing is certainly when you are in love.
What inspired you to choose the locations in the book?
Good writing is about what you know and have experienced. If you make up a story, it will be real in proportion to the amount of knowledge that you have acquired. That’s what happened here. I was going through a tough time and then one night in Venice I just started and allowed the story to follow the events that were unfolding in my personal life. I stayed in Venice until Carnival had finished, then continued back in Zurich, where I was living at the time. After some months, the manuscript was up to 40,000 words, so I packed up the car and drove to the south of France for the summer. There I traveled to Arles, Nîmes, and Antibes, all of which featured heavily in the story.
Harry is, as you’ve said, an “odd fellow.” How did you create a character with such unique characteristics?
Some ideas come from real life. Mostly I invent people from a knowledge and understanding and experience of people.
How do you separate fact from fiction when you are writing a book that’s partially based on real-life experiences?
From things that have happened and from things as they exist and from all things that you know and all those you cannot know, you make something through your invention that is not a representation but a whole new thing truer than anything true and alive, and you make it alive, and if you make it well enough, you give it immortality.
Is there anything you do when you’re stuck in a writing slump?
The best way is to always stop when you know what is going to happen next. Then you have the juice for the next time.
Why do you think the post-war backdrop is so perfect for this novel?
I think men of a certain age after war and a result of their war experience along with social upheavals of the time creates a somewhat cynical and disillusioned environment without cultural or emotional stability which suited the story I have tried to tell.
The ending of this book is begging for a sequel – any plans for one?
Sometimes you know a story. Sometimes you make it up as you go along and have no idea how it will come out and everything changes as it moves. This was not one of those stories. It was as real as anything. But it was a period of my past, and that’s where it should stay.
If you were able to sit down with three writers, who would you choose and what would you ask them?
In company with people of your own trade, you ordinarily speak of other writers’ books. The better the writers, the less they will speak about what they have written themselves. I simply try to write better than certain dead writers of whose value I am certain. This would include Twain, Flaubert, Stendhal, Hemingway, Crane, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Chekhov, the good Kipling, Zola, Joyce, Sarte, and Shakespeare. .
Can you describe the mechanics of writing?
When you start to write you get all the kick and the reader gets none. After you learn to write, your whole objective is to convey everything, every sensation, sight, feeling, place and emotion to the reader. To do this well, you have to work over what you write. If you write with a pencil, you get three different views at it to see if the reader is getting what you wanted him to get. First when you read it over; then when it is typed, and again in the proof. This way, it keeps fluid longer so that you can make it better easier.
Do you know what is going to happen when you write a story?
Almost never. I start to make it up and have happen what would have to happen as it goes along.
How much should you write in a day?
The best way is to read it all every day from the start, correcting as you go along, then go on from where you stopped the day before. When it gets so long that you can’t do this every day, read back two or three chapters each day; then each week read it all from the start. That’s how you make it one piece.
What books should a writer have to read?
- The Blue Hotel and The Open Boat by Stephen Crane
- Midshipman Easy, Frank Mildamay and Peter Simple by Captain Marryat
- Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- Kim by Rudyard Kiplin
- Madame Bovary and L’Education Sentimentale by Gustave Flaubert
- Dubliners and Ulysses by James Joyce
- Le Rouge et Le Noir and La Chatreuse de Parme by Stendhal
- Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
- War and Peace and Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
- Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann
- Hail and Farewell by George Moore
- The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- The Oxford Book of English Verse
- The Enormous Room by E.E. Cummings
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
- Far Away and Long Ago by W.H. Hudson
- Tom Jones and Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding
- Portrait of a Lady and The American by Henry James
What advice do you have for young writers who are starting out?
Try and write something that has not been written before and write the book you want to read. Aside from that, side projects and hobbies are important.
What is the best early training for a writer?
An unhappy childhood.
How can a writer train himself?
Start with watching what happens around you. Remember what the noises were and what was said. Find out what gave you the emotion, what the action was that gave you any excitement. Then write it down and make it clear so the reader will see it too and have the same feeling you had. Also as a writer try not to judge situations, only understand them. When people talk listen completely. Don’t be thinking what you’re going to say. You should be able to go into a room and when you come out know everything that you saw and heard. If that room gave you any feeling you should know exactly what it was that gave you that feeling.
How do I get published?
Open up your cabinet of curiosities. Tell good stories. Learn to take a punch. Stick around.
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