The genesis for what became his first published novel came in 2008, when Dean started an internet blog and decided to craft a story ‘on the fly’, with no bells or whistles and put it up in instalments each week. He would announce a new edition on Facebook and Twitter and let anybody who wanted to, read it. Dean suddenly found himself with a dedicated readership, a following who, hooked on the story, would ‘tune in’ each week to read the next instalment and encourage Dean to keep writing more.
One particular message, was to signal the turning point in Dean’s writing career. It invited him to have a look at Central Avenue Publishing of Vancouver
. After talking with C.A.P’s creative director Michelle Halket, Dean became very serious about his project. He stopped publishing the story to the blog and began constructing the manuscript, stealing time whenever he could to work on the story. Within a few months the manuscript, now renamed, “The Hambledown Dream”, was completed, submitted and accepted for publication.
Since its publication, ‘The Hambledown Dream’ has received critical acclaim from across the globe and has fired Dean’s creative spark to continue writing, thus bringing us up to date, with the publication of his second novel, ‘Gifts Of The Peramangk’, which, in October 2013, was nominated as a finalist in the prestigious EPIC Awards for contemporary fiction and has been described as a work of significant literary achievement.
WORDS FROM THE BOOK
Though she was too young to comprehend the full gravity of what had just happened, Virginia Crammond knew in the depths of her soul that she would never see her mother again.
No one is beyond suitability for learning, my child – no matter who you are or where you come from. If you have the desire to learn – a fire in your belly that drives you – then … you can prevail in your search.
Because, in that moment, here in their little sanctuary, they were all together, bound by something greater than anything that sought to tear them apart. Their love for one another.
You are from the Peramangk – that is your country. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. They are a proud people. Remember!
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THE BOOK
“You can’t fix us, don’t you understand? You never could”
I was honoured enough to have read Dean Mayes debut novel ‘The Hambledown Dream’
and couldn’t imagine just how this could be bettered in any future storyline …. Just how wrong could I have been …. ‘Gifts Of the Peramangk’ really did leave me speechless, with its eloquent language, intricately drawn characters, detailed descriptions, and its heart-wrenching and tragic, yet strangley uplifting storyline.
For anyone who has read ‘The Hambledown Dream’, the moment where the two storylines run parallel, then converge, will have been noted for its sympathetic blending, and sensitive handling. The moment of recognition for the reader, is fleeting and crafted with great skill, so for those of you who have not read Dean’s debut novel, you would not notice anything untoward in ‘Gifts Of The Peramangk’, that would distract you from this unique, emotional and totally absorbing storyline … Dean certainly has a rare talent and the blending of the two stories can only be described as inspired.
We have a community which has embraced the cultural blending of its white Australians, with the indigenous Aboriginal native population, being torn asunder by a system which is ostensibly there to protect the Aborigines, but which in reality, is the instigator of practices which could only have been thought of as barabaric, if they had ever dared to have been acknowledged by an outside world, which must undoubtedly have known of their existence!
Virginia’s experiences at the hands of the system, separates her from her loving and devoted, mixed-race family, which even at so young an age, she realises she will never see again and puts her instead, into a place of great danger and in the midst of a situation which demands every ounce of courage her young body and mind can muster, to survive. Just one kind person, who offers wise words, small deeds of encouragement and a precious gift, stays with Virginia for the rest of her life, even as she is cruelly punished for these liaisons and is cast aside to fend for herself, now that her usefulness has ended.
Dean paints a vivid picture of the proud, dignified and stoic woman Virginia has become in later life, despite the knock-backs she has received along every step of the way. She realises only too well, that as a mother, she has failed to protect and guide her children into a better life than she had ever had. She had been too badly damaged, left insecure and way too immature to take control of their destiny and future together, leaving the family destroyed, her son hating her and almost any person in authority, with an emotion which is raw and almost feral. The family is then confined to a neighbourhood where racial tensions still run high, thus fanning the flames of his mistrust of the system which he feels has cruelly failed him and his own family, therefore justifying to himself, the criminal, knife-edge existence he leads and the abuse which he considers it his right to administer.
Virginia’s single-minded resolve and determination to forge a better future for her grand-daughter Ruby, when fate has so cruelly robbed her of a mother, is dealt with in a truly thought provoking and emotional way by Dean, as Virginia is so clearly consumed with guilt about her daughters tragic death. Her two gifts to Ruby, the one an innate strength of character, the other a physical symbol of the lasting pride of a nation.
At Dean’s skilled and expert hand, with his own beautiful music of language, Ruby’s music becomes the single unifying element for a family, so far down the road of self destruction and self loathing, that the healing process will be long and tortuous, but upon which the seeds of a new beginning will be planted. The music takes on a character all its own, such is its importance to the very future of each and every member of the family. Only thanks to the kindness of strangers, who also have to stand firm against the racisim and prejudice of those in authority, in order to give Ruby a chance to not only follow her own dream, but to begin the reconciliation process for those dearest to her.
Coming as I do, from the UK, where we had our own horrific policy of enforced ‘Child Migration’
, this story rang out loud and clear, as a sad and poignant reminder of ‘man’s inhumanity to man’. Yet at the same time, through the determination, tenacity and passion of one elderly lady and a small child ‘Gifts Of The Peramangk’, was also an ispirational and uplifting testament to man’s ability to rise against the odds and achieve their full potential. Definitely a story to be slowly savoured and enjoyed, coming as it does from an author who is as fluent with his pen and words, as Ruby is with her violin and music.
That which you seek may well be closer than you think.
As ‘Gifts Of The Peramangk’ was a review request, a Kindle download was sent to me by its author, Dean Mayes, free of charge.
This in no way influenced any comments I may have expressed about the book, in any blog article I have posted. Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article.
I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a 5 out of 5.