An Interview with Author Eldred Buck:
Eldred, here are the questions for the interview. You can answer a few of them or you can answer all of them, whatever you are comfortable doing. Ready then, here goes:
Q. What inspired you to write the novel ‘All the Sons of Abraham’?
A. I was very fortunate to have lived in the Middle East during some fascinating times, particularly when seen from the context of the world we live in today. It seems to me there are many misconceptions about this part of the world and I drew upon many of my experiences to write about these.
Q. How much research did you put into the writing of this book?
A. In short, a great deal. I spent a lot of time making sure that the background to both the story lines and the characters was credible. Some of the issues I have written about can evoke strong reactions, so I was always mindful of separating facts from opinions. I should also stress that it is nonetheless, fiction.
Q. Have you written any other books?
A. No, only articles for trade publications, very dry and rather technical I’m afraid to say.
Q. Do you have a commerce background?
A. Yes, I’m sad but I have to admit that I’ve been in investment banking and commodity finance and brokerage since graduation.
Q. Your protagonist is a banker from London. What is your opinion about the financial system of England?
A. Surely this interview is too short for a full answer! The shortest answer I can suggest is that the financial system is like a very forgetful and slothful pupil. This term’s report reads, ‘must do better!’
Q. Your protagonist leaves his lucrative job in Paris to work in the IAB (bank) in Jeddah to get away from a mistress who would ruin his family life. Do you feel what he did was right?
A. No, running away from problems rarely fixes them. Alex is a selfish character, who has only put off his day of reckoning. He is jumping out the frying pan and into a completely new and uncontrollable fire. As far as the story goes, I wanted a flawed protagonist, because the reader becomes more critical and objective when seeing events through such a character.
Q. What would you prefer──to work in a bank in England or Jeddah?
A. Neither, I’m not sure working in any bank is much fun.
Q. What is your opinion about the rise of terrorism in the past few years?
A. If you are referring to Islamic Fundamentalism described in the book, it’s a case of being both sad and sadly inevitable. Terrorism itself, has been with us since the beginning of time, so that is nothing new, however in our more ordered and interlinked global village, acts of violence strike us all much more acutely and personally.
Q. What is your opinion about the justice system of Jeddah which has been described in your book?
A. I’m not qualified to talk about the judicial process of any country, however I think the principal of fair trails and the application of international law should always be upheld. I should perhaps also add that personally, I don’t agree with the death penalty.
Q. If you were in Claire’s place, what would you have done with a husband like Alex Bell?
A. Claire is the personification of patience, particularly with the responsibility of a young family and she clearly enjoys the lifestyle she has become accustomed to, but personally I think I would have given Alex his marching orders much sooner than she eventually did!
Q. What according to you is the real cause behind the popularity of the idea of ‘jihad’ among the fundamentalists of the Middle East?
A. A potent and deadly mix of lack of education, lack of opportunity and utter desperation.
Q. Alex Bell your protagonist trusts Chris Barma without question. Are you a person who readily trusts people?
A. Obviously it depends, personally, I think because I am an optimist, I always start with the expectation that people are trustworthy. However experience has occasionally shown me that this approach to life is naïve and can be costly, so I work on the basis of trying not to make the same mistakes twice.
Q. How did you come upon the gay culture in Jeddah?
A. It was related to me in confidence by a friend, who shall remain nameless.
Q. With which character in your book do you identify?
A. None really. I’d like to say Lorenzo or Omar, the first for his clean cut, heroic qualities; the second for his kindly humanity, but really I’m not like any of them.
Q. Describe Osama bin Laden in one sentence.
A. Misguided Middle-Eastern Robin Hood.
Q. Do you think that many clerics are the real cause of the terrorism that we are witnessing today?
A. Some so-called clerics, who are ignorant of the Koran and who preach intolerance and hatred, are clearly stoking the fires of sectarian unrest. However they are not the cause, just one of the symptoms of the economic and social breakdown occurring in these societies.
Q. What made you write about Omar’s family who are the main characters in the latter part of your novel?
A. Omar’s family is a microcosm of many of the dilemmas that face a family and a father, particularly those with aspirations and hopes for a better world for their children. They happen to be in Saudi Arabia, but the problems could be anywhere, from Oslo to Columbine. There is the conflict between generations and between customs and cultures. Omar is struggling to hold it all together, in the face of some insurmountable obstacles. He is my favourite character in the book.
Q. Mohammed a character in your book became an Islamic fundamentalist while Alex Bell your protagonist did not practice his religion. Which of the two characters is more humane according to you & why?
A. This is a very interesting question. In the book, both characters demonstrate both humane and religious behaviour, Alex helped save the life of Mohammed, and Mohammed did the same for Alex mid way through the story: both men showing themselves, through these acts of kindness, as humane. Its hard to split them at this point. As for religions, Mohammed is unambiguously a devout Muslim, yet Alex also has his ‘religion’, as his belief system is rooted around the secular, the rational and the objective. At one stage in the story, the notion of ‘Pascal’s Wager’ is mentioned and Alex’ secular belief system seemed somewhat wrecked upon this particular conceptual rock; nonetheless he seems to continue to sail on with his slightly shaky belief in his scientific rationalism. So regarding both characters’ humane qualities, in the end it is up to the reader to make up their own minds on this, but for me, neither should be denied their humanity. The real question is whether the characters themselves have denied their own.
Q. How did you go about the process of writing your book?
A. Through very early morning starts, I find that my writing is best done at dawn. Not good for those around me I’m sorry to say, as I’m up with the lark!
Q. What kind of response did you get after your book was published?
A. Mixed, some liked it, others didn’t. As I was told, you can’t write a controversial book and expect universal praise.
Q. Omar the character in your book does not wish his younger son to become an Islamic fundamentalist but was not forceful enough to stop him. What would you have done if you were in Omar’s place?
A. Difficult. I’m really not sure that any father could have done much better than poor Omar. He tried everything to reconnect with Mohammed. His son retreated into himself and became withdrawn and hostile. He became mixed up with some very manipulative people. It’s something that many parents have to deal with and without support it is very difficult to fight against.
Q. What is more important for you (a) Family or (b) Religion?
A. Easy choice for me, family. In my view no religion is worth killing for, family on the other hand, I can understand.
Q. How long did it take you to write your novel?
A. Too long.
Q. Describe the character of Ed Moore who is another important yet a shady character in your book.
A. Ed Moore is one of the most complex characters in the book. Outwardly he portrays a deliberately straight forward persona, even as you quite rightly say, a somewhat shady character, but his life’s journey shows that he started out as trying to do the right thing. When you scrape beneath the guarded veneer of him, he emerges as an altruist of sorts, a polyglot and something of a liberal, despite the circumstances that he finds himself in. He is one of those persons that, to use the current vernacular coined by policy makers of today, thinks in terms of, ‘unknown unknowns.’ He is perhaps the shrewdest character in the book.
Q. Are you planning on writing a sequel to this book?
A. I am indeed.
Q. Why did you choose the title ‘All the Sons of Abraham’ for your book when actually there is not much mention of the Jewish clan in your book?
A. Abraham is a key individual in the Old Testament, the Bible and the Koran, so all three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam share him as a key protagonist and are therefore related. The title is intended to bring attention to the fratricidal behaviour of these three religions that have exactly the same God.
Q. What is your favourite holiday destination?
A. Not sure, either France or Italy.
Q. If given a choice who would you consider the lesser evil, USA or The Middle East?
A. I’m not sure how to answer this, I don’t consider either as evil, or as good.
Q. Do you think that many Englishmen have a stereotype image where the U.S Americans are concerned?
A. Of course. Stereotypes are what make the world go round, we all love them and loathe them, they’re just like pantomime characters and as individuals, we all love to break them and show how ridiculous they are.
Q. What is your opinion about racism practised in England?
A. It exists of course as it does everywhere in the world, but I think, honestly, to a much lesser degree than many other places and these days, inordinately better than before. The England that my children live in today is unrecognizable with the one that I grew up with as a child.
Q. What is your opinion about racism practised in the Middle East?
A. Sadly no different than any other part of the world.
Q. Do you travel a lot?
A. Yes, I have been very fortunate to have lived in five different countries and also to have travelled very extensively around the world, both for business and pleasure. There are still may places that I want to go to, I have a long bucket list.
Q. What was your main aim in writing your novel?
A. To give readers a good story.
Q. Who preferably should read your novel?
A. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in looking at today’s world as influenced by events from the Middle-East and or global Finance.
Q. In which genre would you place your book ‘All the Sons of Abraham’?
A. To be honest I’m not entirely sure. Fiction, Finance, Middle East, Thriller….
Q. Do you have any weakness/vices which you would like to share with your readers?
A. Laziness, I love to cut corners.
Q. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
A. Can you be both? Maybe a bit more of the former to be honest.
Q. Are you a teetotaller, regular or a social drinker?
A. Committedly social.
Q. In your book you have mentioned one character saying ‘Never trust a man who does not drink’ . . . do you believe in that saying?
A. No, it’s a ludicrous statement.
Q. Have you ever been to the Middle East?
A. Yes, studied, lived and worked there and visited it many, many times. It’s a part of the world that fascinates me.
Q. Describe yourself in five sentences.
A. I can do it in five words. Father, son, lover, writer, jester.
Q. Describe what you will be doing as a writer in the next five years.
A. Finishing another book.
Thank you Eldred for answering all my questions so candidly. I invite readers to interact with Eldred on Goodreads,
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7973725.Eldred_Buck, on Twitter https://twitter.com/EldredBuck
and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AllTheSonsOfAbraham?fref=ts
The links to Eldred’s books on Amazon and my review of his book are given below:
Copyright 2014 Fiza Pathan
Review Of The Book ‘All The Sons Of Abraham’ by Eldred Buck:
Eldred Buck has sensationally portrayed one of the most important periods in modern world history or the latter contemporary world history in his intriguing book ‘All the Sons of Abraham’. Buck has focussed on two very important years in his book which are the years 1997 and 1998 which contrary to our first impressions are rather significant years in contemporary times, especially for places like Jeddah and Riyadh where most of the action of the story takes place.
Eldred Buck has used a number of colourful characters to paint a fascinating hue to his story. He has researched very well into the happenings of the period in contemporary history which he has penned which can be clearly seen when he alludes to certain international events during the course of the novel like the death of Lady Diana for example. The flow of the book is smooth and easy to read. Bank work and the field of commerce is a very substantial part of the novel but Eldred Buck has handled the storyline so well that even an Arts or Science student would be easily able to read this novel and appreciate it.
As stated previously, the author has chosen to introduce many characters in his novel like the main protagonist Alex, his close friend in Jeddah who is called Jim, his wife Claire, their sons Christopher, Anthony and David, his colleagues at the AIB (bank) in Jeddah, his mistress, his neighbours and many others. Each character I have noticed has a role to play to convey to the reader what point of view or what idea the author wants to bring out via the character. This has been carried out excellently. Also, I admire the way Eldred Buck has given us during certain dialogues in the story a sort of insight into not only what is going on in one character’s mind but simultaneously what is going on in the other character’s mind which is unique and I’m impressed by it.
The pace of the story is relatively slow at first but then it happens to be a book where that pace is the best to go about to sink into the happenings of the novel. Of course towards the end of the novel, the pace is suddenly quickened which suits the situation appropriately.
The title of the book and the synopsis of the book can be relished in the story which as one of the characters put is about the sons of Abraham or let us say…the descendants of Abraham in the form of the Christians, Muslims and Jews who form a very important part of the Middle East during the years 1997 to 1998.
The chapters and sub chapters are divided properly following a continuum which makes the reader want to read more of the book and not get burdened with too many events to digest. The novel also brings out to the reader the way in which young Muslim men are brain washed into becoming terrorists and a threat to world peace which has been tackled very well by the author without hurting sentiments. The story is mature and has been gone about in a mature manner. The characters seem exceptionally real thanks to the vivid descriptions given by the author. Young adults and adults with a liking for intellectual matter in their stories are highly recommended by me to read this book. A few themes one can gather from this book are:
- The emergence of the Middle East as a powerful force
- The culture of the people of the Middle East
- The outlook of a foreigner in Jeddah
- The strict law of Jeddah
- The religion of Islam
- The rise of Osama Bin Laden as a world threat
- The brainwashing of young Muslim minds
- The undercover work of the CIA
- The globalization of the world and much more.
Lastly, I would like to thank the author for writing such a splendid book about a culture we are not very familiar with but through his book, we get a whole new look at the world of banking and commerce which is not at all boring but enlightening and fruitful for an intellectual reader.
Copyright 2014 Fiza Pathan
Blue lady of the mist don’t change your soothing hue,
Make me forget the lies that I’m still holding true.
Blue lady cuddle up next to me in the night,
Nuzzle your head in my arms as I hold on to you tight.
Blue lady sweet is the sky that rains on your cold flesh,
Entangle me in your mysterious white loving mesh.
Blue lady sing to me as the dew drops fall upon the shadows,
Clear the firmament of my old love which is imprinted in tarot.
Blue lady of the Nile sing a lovely song to this musician,
Your every word is my delight as willing a submission.
Blue lady of the twilight please drink the cup of lunacy with me,
Stay with my eyes in staring embrace & never set me free.
Blue lady set in my sight caress my old decaying skin with water,
Mould the mud in me to your soft tender hands just like the potter.
Blue lady so dazzling of white virgin tears do please soak me up,
Let me drink from your eyes so blue in a mage’s crystal cup.
Blue lady please cause me to rise from my sadness,
Build in me the bridge of positivity that will bring tidings of gladness.
Blue lady of mine just whisper your chant to my ears,
Let me dance to the rhythm of your song to all that one ever hears.
Blue lady kiss my lips & dry them with your smile so nourishing,
Come forth from the fading moon sweetly run like liquid rushing.
Blue lady of the oceans you are too beautiful & regal for love,
Rough lust will tend my days away to colour the white dove.
I’ll be strong without your charms & I’ll draw myself your blue robe –
for dear lady there is no other save you & this colour of the exodus…not red but blue!
Copyright 2014 Fiza Pathan
Image courtesy: http://community.beliefnet.com/tirranna/go/gallery/item/57827259
Tell Me When
Tell me when your heart will overflow with desire for me,
Tell me when the stars of love will twinkle in your eyes.
Tell me when you will be mine tonight in haste,
Tell me when you will let your spirit be one with mine.
Tell me when the dove will coo our love to the heavens,
Tell me when the swan of grace will allure you towards me.
Tell me when you will remember of our love which lit me up,
Tell me when you will kiss my hand & smile so tenderly again.
Tell me when the moon will spin its course into your territory,
Tell me when the moon will enchant you like it has enchanted me.
Tell me when our lips shall meet with kisses to greet so sweet,
Tell me when we will light up the night with our waltzing.
Tell me when the letters of love shall woo you to my side,
Tell me when our souls will meet in an embrace of forgetfulness.
Tell me when the red roses will bloom in your cheeks tonight,
Tell me when my poems will capture your aching heart.
Tell me when the white wine of ecstasy will redouble your wit,
Tell me when our wine glasses will tinkle together as one will.
Tell me when you will think of me during our separation,
Tell me when you last wept for me in the hours of expectation.
Tell me when our shadows will be entwined,
Tell me when the rain shall wet your senses to the glory of amour.
Alas! This distance shall record but one note to your grace…that I waited for you to tell me when.
Copyright 2014 Fiza Pathan
Image courtesy: http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/95166
There is a fable out there talking about another cosmos,
A galaxy or a burning star shining outwards on a course.
The facts have been altered & history has been changed,
Some scientists who we call foundation were once called deranged.
The foundation has been set & the world has changed its hue,
There are other life forms out there which are practically new.
The nuclear devastation is true when the robot has spun a mind,
Thoughts of others have been put into action changing mankind.
Mars has found water with a desert over a sea so vast,
It tantalizes the mind about how we have overlooked the past.
The foundation stone has been set in soil which has a brain,
Computers are at our doorstep which stretches our minds to strain.
Isaac Asimov once drew a map of letters to depict this foundation,
Our advancement has proven him right the fruit of continuation.
The astronomers conjure up a world of orbs of hot gases,
Only time will tell however how long this passes.
The foundation has been set & the planets are seven times strong,
You will do much with your reckoning if anything goes wrong.
The red sun shines out over a new colony so far away,
We could not reach them yesterday but we shall today.
A pillar of fire shall burn heat into our cold veins so ice like,
An atom or a molecule will throw dust upon a world so life like.
The spectre of the electron will pass through the foundation set,
We will be the overcomers of our futuristic ideas with no regret.
The robots are living but the soul is dead for all too blind to see,
The foundation arises from sunken continents for you & me.
So shoot with the frozen comet & head for the moon,
Otherwise you will do battle with the likes of Cain till your doom.
Asimov wrote the Foundation of our dreams,
Future in the guise of a fable is more than what it really seems.
Therefore read the foundation & take it all to heart,
There is a story for every invention & all we have to do is start.
Copyright 2014 Fiza Pathan
This image is a reproduction of an original painting by renowned science-fiction and fantasy illustrator Rowena Morill. It depicts Dr. Isaac Asimov enthroned with symbols of his life’s work.
The Goodreads team has approved my giveaway for NIRMALA: The Mud Blossom. It is scheduled to open for entries at midnight on Friday, August 15 and end at midnight on Monday, September 15. 3 copies of my book will be given away to Goodreads members in United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Afghanistan, Aland Islands, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Andorra, Angola, Anguilla, Antarctica, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bouvet Island, Brazil, British Indian Ocean Territory, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Christmas Island, Cocos (keeling) Islands, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cote D’ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Falkland Islands (malvinas), Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, French Polynesia, French Southern Territories, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guernsey, Guinea, Guinea-bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Heard Island and Mcdonald Islands, Holy See (vatican City State), Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jersey, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of, Korea, Republic of, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao, Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mexico, Micronesia, Federated States of, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Palestinian Territory, Occupied, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Pitcairn, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Réunion, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, United Republic of, Thailand, Timor-leste, Togo, Tokelau, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States Minor Outlying Islands, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Virgin Islands, British, Virgin Islands, U.S., Wallis and Futuna, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
A sample copy of my book is available for viewing and download at:
Do read the two ★★★★★ reviews
“It isn’t often that I am moved to tears by a story. In this case I had to stop reading several times until I could see the words clearly once again.” Jack Eason
“This book in my eyes is both: a ‘tour de force’ of social reportage and a literary masterpiece.”
I count on your wholehearted support to make this Giveaway a success. Feel free to reblog my post throughout the Giveaway period and do click the Enter to win button midnight on Friday, August 15.
With warm regards
Beautiful Noise by Fiza Pathan
The sound of energy booms in the strumming of the folk guitar,
The laughter on everyone’s faces screams a song of the stars.
While the couples dance to the tune of the beautiful strings,
The young girls glide over the rest to see what the noise brings.
The mandolin is shot a note so magical in the air of dreams,
So pick up your voice & go around with shouting screams.
Remember the night of waltzing lads & lasses into the dawn,
Be quick & dance with their shadows before they are gone.
Go clap your hands in the mirage of the fiddler’s heat,
Don’t slack off now come along for the ride & keep up the beat.
The beautiful shrill cry of the sons of daughters makes me cry,
The piano’s concerto makes my soul jump up so high.
In happiness with glee I spin my partner around,
I can’t stop the music in my dreams it is therefore getting loud.
The beautiful violins blaze a fire red hot on the scales,
Dance with the youth of the twilight before the night pales.
The noise of the ball is beautiful as an enchantment,
The song leads us to jump in bliss like God’s commandments.
There is gaiety in the air as we keep up the beat with our feet,
All the revellers are singing along the melody which is sweet.
There is no time for dinner let’s have another round of songs,
The night is bellowing its speakers to the fair note held so long.
So don’t be a snob & pick up that viola to strum our pain today,
The air is filled with sweet trumpet blasts everyone is gay.
So hear the ruckus of the night in the silence of the noise,
Recall a dancing partner you loved tenderly as gentle as a beautiful noise.
Copyright 2014 Fiza Pathan
Image courtesy: http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/909015