A Fine Excess: An Australian Odyssey
E-Book (available as ePub files)
He’s caught in a rip tide off Kuta Beach in Bali: no one’s on shore to help; every time he cries out, the waters rush over him.
Tony Speed is in free-fall. Near 30, a victim of the budget ax, he’s lost his first real job as an Instructor at a southern university. Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and John Lennon—the gods of his idolatry--all tell him to get out, just go. So he takes his life’s savings and chases his Japanese girlfriend to Tokyo. But Yoshiko dances to a different drummer, and before he knows it, Speed’s in Southeast Asia, knocked silly by a rip tide. That rip is the book’s central metaphor, as Speed travels through Asia and the “Lucky Country” of Australia, watching the fragmented pieces of his life play out like a kaleidoscope.
Set in Bali and Australia, with flashbacks to Japan and the States, A Fine Excess is a novel that reads fast and goes deep—an On the Road for the new millennium--with a foot in this floating world, and a wing in the spiritual realms of East and West. It's a book about the adventure of discovery, integrating our whirling selves with the mirroring chaos and beauty of the world.
What’s Speed searching for, what does he want? An affirming vision… wholeness…someone and some place to hold onto. It’s the mid-70s, after all. Vietnam, Watergate, a worldwide recession form the crazy quilt he’s woven into. He joins Aussie friends Peter and Kay in hurricane-ravaged Darwin where he’s harassed by the local bar fauna—“Ockers.” With fellow wayfarer Dacy, he hitches a ride through the outback in a Holden station wagon piggybacking a lorry, the red dust of the Simpson Desert clogging every pore. In Coober Pedy, the mole-like denizens burrow into caves to escape the heat while ferreting night and day for fire-lit opals. It’s all Dante-esque—and exhilarating!
Speed finds work in Adelaide, picking grapes for a winery. He settles in for a month of love-making with Colleen, a funny, pretty Canadian scientist who despises Aussie men. Tempted to linger, Speed finds he can’t shake the memory of Jeri, the American woman he met in Indonesia who is now in Sydney. On his way to her, he stops off in Melbourne, where he re-joins Peter and Kay. They’re in the process of breaking up, and Speed gets caught in the inevitable rip.
A couple of weeks later, he’s keeling into Jeri’s orbit. But she’s involved with two other men. Only when he can recognize the quiet charm of Carol, Jeri’s reticent roommate, does Speed find peace and love. He finally gets his revelation, his “Zen slap,” through Dennie, Carol’s quadriplegic cousin. In the sad and luminous figure of Dennie, the suffering, acceptance, gratitude and grace at the core of the religious traditions of the East and West finally converge.
All journeys are beginnings. This is a book about beginning.
Gary Corseri�s articles, fiction, and poetry have appeared at hundreds of venues, in several languages, worldwide, including, The New York Times, Village Voice, Redbook Magazine, CounterPunch, Georgia Review, and Common Dreams. He has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library and Museum, and his dramas have been produced on Atlata-PBS and elsewhere. He has published two poetry collections, Random Descent (Anhinga) and Too Soon, As Always (Georgia Poetry Society Press); as well as two novels, Holy Grail, Holy Grail: Quest East, Quest West, and A Fine Excess: An Australian Odyssey (both from Xlibris). He also edited the literary anthology, Manifestations (Xlibris), with work by Jimmy Carter, Thomas Lux, and 48 other authors from around the world. He has worked as an editor in the U.S. and Japan.
He graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Florida (B.A., 1967), was awarded a scholarship to Harvard (M.A.T., 1969), and was University Fellow at Florida State University (Ph.D., 1988). His awards include first prizes in the Stephen Vincent Benet and Florida Poetry contests, grants from the Florida and Georgia Councils for the Arts, and fellowships or scholarships to Bread Loaf, the Sewanee Writers� Conference and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. He has taught in public schools and prisons and at the University of Florida, at Hokusei Gakuen University in Sapporo, Japan, and at Aoyama University in Tokyo.
Born and raised in New York City, he has lived in Georgia, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia and California, traveled in 30 countries, and spent six years teaching, writing and traveling in Asia and Australia. He currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Perfect Bound Softcover
Sale Price $18.69