In anticipation of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 next year comes a novel that considers that tragic, tumultuous, heroic time.
In “Seamless Sky” (JMS Books, Jan. 11), which takes its title from the crystalline weather of New York that day, WAG editor-in-chief Georgette Gouveia, who covered 9/11, offers a tale of dispossession and revenge, compassion and acceptance, set against the backdrop of a time that is a not-so-distant mirror of our own.
Jade Cabral strides into the 21st century as a golden guy. Brilliant and beautiful, with a California coolness and a Harvard MBA, he is poised for wealth and success in New York’s Financial District.
But Jade harbors a secret flaw, a thirst for revenge against Señor Rodriguez, the California landowner who deprived his father – Señor’s out-of-wedlock son, John Virgil – of his family’s rightful inheritance and place in the world. Jade thinks that if he succeeds in New York, he can make up for every loss and humiliation his family has endured at the hands of Señor. That searing quest leads him into the arms of Nan Spencer, a lovely, fragile socialite, and to the top of the financial world – the Twin Towers. There Jade survives 9/11 only to discover in its aftermath a fate worse than death.
Gouveia never intended to write a novel about 9/11.
“Having covered it in my role as senior cultural writer for Gannett Inc.,” she says, “I knew what those who lost and lived through it suffered and would never want to exploit the privilege of having reported on it.
“At the same time, 9/11 is part of me, as a New Yorker, an American and a writer – one who has always been fascinated by how leadership and power shape our workplaces, Wall Street and our nation. Determined to explore this theme in a new book begun in the years just after 9/11, I found those events too compelling not to revisit them.
“Indeed,” she adds, “they haunt us still as our current quagmire in the Middle East is the legacy of that event, set in motion now so long ago.”
But while 9/11 is the literal and psychological high point of her story’s arc, it is not the only inspiration for the novel.
“I’ve always loved big, juicy, multigenerational novels like ‘Wuthering Heights,’ ‘So Big’ and ‘East of Eden’ that plumb the central themes of human existence – injustice, ambition, revenge, forgiveness, love. As in those works, my central character finds himself at a crossroads. I’ll leave it to the readers to decide which path he chooses and the worthiness of that choice.”
A 2018 Folio Women in Media Award Winner, Georgette Gouveia is the author of the new “Burying the Dead” and “Daimon: A Novel of Alexander the Great” (also from JMS Books), as well as “The Penalty for Holding,” a 2018 Lambda Literary Award finalist (reissued by JMS Books), and “Water Music” (Greenleaf Book Group). They’re part of her series of novels, “The Games Men Play,” also the name of the sports/culture blog she writes.
For more, visit thegamesmenplay.com.
– Georgette Gouveia