STRINGS was launched on Tuesday 6 June 2017 at Gaslights Café & Music, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia . This date was chosen as it is the exact date 50 years ago on which it begins, 6 June 1967. During the launch the author read an excerpt from the novel and answered questions about it, and its historical background. He and his partner Markiza played contemporary songs such as A Whiter Shade of Pale, Someone to Love & Tim Buckley’s Pleasant Street.
The story line: it is 6th June 1967. Feeling depressed in the aftermath of his final exams at the University of the South Coast, UK, Colin Ogilvie goes to the Union Bar and buys a beer. There he gets into a discussion about the 6 day War between Israel & the Arab countries which has just begun, and which side will win. Colin fears this conflict might lead to a nuclear war between the US and Russia.
After walking in some fields nearby, brooding about his problematic relationship with his girlfriend, he goes back to the university and this time meets up with Simon Neilson who is playing the piano in a music room. Simon is the lead guitarist of probably the University's best student band. Colin is a classical violinist so they have something to talk about. They go back by train to the city and this leads to an extraordinary adventure which changes the course of his life.
currently available from Silverfish
Bangsar Village 2, Kuala
far) if you like to turn pages, for RM60
(which is half-price)
but bring a bag as it is quite heavy! An e-book
cheaper than the physical version, available from Amazon
& Noble and
other bookselling websites.
with the author by Charles Chiam on Eksentrika
Review by David Russell, novelist & poet, on Amazon
“Strings provides an acute inside perspective of the radical ferment in the late 1960s, from the standpoint of a British University. It is set in 1967, and opens with the backdrop of the six-day war between Israel and the Arabs. That year was associated with the rise of the Permissive Society; Strings certainly captures the inevitable conflict, within relationships, between old and new values. Colin Ogilvie, the hero, has a deep attachment to fellow-student Claudia, who is aloof and insistent on codes of Platonic friendship. The central character's hurts in the relationship area lead him to explore rock music and join the top university band, both as an avenue of escape, and as a positive opportunity for experimentation. In terms of personalities, there is an interplay between the reflective, reserved and inhibited personality of classical violinist Colin, and the open, reckless, instinctive one of rock musician Simon. There is an intricate network of casual relationships among the musicians, which has 'spin-offs' into their creativity and imagination. As the long drawn out narrative proceeds, Colin and Claudia still don’t seem to be able to make it together, but then there is a surprise ending.
“As an additional bonus, this novel contains an abundance of reading matter and popular music relevant to that period - a superb companion for YouTube trawling…”