Author's note: This chapter is another from 'The Poet's Stairwell' - a picaresque novel-in-progress. Boon and Henry are young Australian poets on the road in search of their muses and, in this chapter, have reached Londonderry after a peculiar and nervous encounter with a gunman called Titus See '
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'...with scarcely a disruption to her rhythm, a gaunt Indian woman in purple sari voided the contents of her nostril onto her hand then cast the necklace of silvery substance aside. O, Boon was a proper enough schoolboy, instructed in the use of the British handkerchief, and yet the gaunt woman’s action lodged in my mind, an image repellent, beautiful, troubling.
'Claude Boon and Henry Luck, young poets in quest of their muses, cut a swathe through the cultural capitals and byways of Europe and Asia towards the end of the Cold War.
'The Poets’ Stairwell revitalises the picaresque novel. Vibrant, sensuous and layered, it has a tumble of characters and pranks.
'Anarchist puckish Beamish, the Isadora Duncan-like Eva, class warrior, Branca, a libidinous translator of poems with Jelena, her iconoclast daughter, Luc Courlai a jailed French philosopher, Titus the Yankee acrobat who cradles his gun like a baby, Mr Hark a saintly Irish funeral director, Willi a German truck driver versed in Thomas Aquinas and sensible Rhee, Henry’s girlfriend—amongst others.' (Publication summary)