Giveaway, Excerpt and Guest Post from Above the Universe Below author Elias Barton
Ok, so this is one I really want to read but I can’t in time for the blog tour. Stupid TBR pile. But this really looks cool, check it out. If you do read it, let me know! I wanna hear all about it!
“Brilliant writing carries this pleasantly odd tale of an agoraphobic artist, Carder Quevedo… Carder’s road is not an easy one, but readers will be rooting for him in this unusual and beautifully written book.”
An agoraphobic artist in our world but a grim reaper in another, Carder Quevedo hides at home, immersing himself in the paintings which commemorate the strange deaths he’s witnessed. He ventures into public only when necessary, scrambling to his hospital job to extract corneas from deceased donors or darting to the diner to share a meal with Darren, his only friend. That’s Carder’s existence – and he’s content.
Haika changes that. As the bored, beautiful owner of an art gallery – who also happens to be married – she stumbles into Carder in a chance encounter and soon becomes obsessed with his art. As they forge a quirky, electric relationship, Carder is reluctantly pulled into Haika’s social world of wealth, status and the peculiar characters that come with it. Carder is pushed further to the edge when his teenage niece visits, rebelling against her ultra-conservative upbringing. All the while, Carder’s hidden history threatens to ruin his developing chance at normalcy, and on the opening night of his art gallery show, his past finally catches up to his present and wreaks havoc upon them all.
Excerpt from Above the Universe Below
That’s what Haika is: love. Not just love for Mike or art or New York. Haika is love in every moment. She’s loving to Carder, to his relatives, to the Carlisle boys. But she’s more. She’s love in the cloudless sky above, in the honey she brought for tea, in the music she tries to soundtrack Carder’s life with, in the thrift-store clothes she’s wearing, in the ascot knotted at her chin, in her bare feet sliding through what would once have been war-torn grass, in the sadness sometimes hiding in the corners of her lips. She brings love to every moment… something Carder has never seen in another person. Ever. He obsesses over every detail, and gulps down the harrowing thought that he’ll one day lose her. He tries to be love like Haika is, to laze on the hammock of friendship hanging from her eyes right now. He fills with gratitude. This has actually happened. She had actually been in his life, and no one can take that away. Carder could live off it for decades and fully plans to.
Guest Post by Elias Barton
This Onion we call Reality
“Reality is a very subjective affair… You can get nearer and nearer, so to speak, to reality; but you never get near enough because reality is an infinite succession of steps, levels of perception, false bottoms, and hence unquenchable, unattainable.
The above quote is sometimes translated as “‘Reality’ is the only word in the English language that only makes sense with quotes around it.” That’s both interesting and true. I remember a time when a friend’s mother was on her deathbed, sadly soon to be taken by cancer. She kept telling my friend that her father (his grandfather) who had died decades before was standing in the room with them. Where? “Right over there. In the corner.” My friend and his mother, while inhabiting the same space were experiencing different realities on some level. Was it the medication? Or was it her proximity with death that allowed her to see more than we normally can? Either way, one doesn’t need drugs to experience different realities. Even in something as simple as an argument, you and another person have experienced the same thing in different ways and have to fight to make sense of it. Good luck with that!
My novel Above the Universe Below challenges the very concept of reality to the very last page of the book. On paper, the main character Carder Quevedo might seem crazy. He shuffles around, keeping to himself, avoiding interaction and creating creepy art of alien-like creatures. But Carder is the furthest thing from insane. He’s smart enough to keep his otherworldly experiences to himself. If he were to confess that he plays the role of Death in another world he might just end up in a padded room! Thus, he goes about his day-to-day existence in this world and keeps his experiences of reaping souls completely to himself. Only Carder and the reader (and those he reaps) know that it happens.
How does Carder arrive in the other world, the world he calls Neidin? That’s another thing he never addresses head-on, though any observant reader will arrive at their own conclusions. Perhaps suffering provides one doorway to that world. Perhaps ending the suffering of others helps us deal with our own pain. Carder grew up with an agoraphobic parent on one hand, and an abusive one on the other. He was kept from experiencing much of the outside world, so he “ignited rockets of exploration inward.” It’s possible that his journeys to Neidin mirror real events in his life, but again that’s for the reader to decide.
My hope is that Above the Universe Below will incite us to dive further into our boundless imaginations, to constantly question what’s “real,” and to realize that reality is an onion: it may make you cry at times, but it’s best when its endless layers are sautéed in butter and fully explored.
About the Author:Elias Barton has lived on the edge of an active volcano, worked in a Bible factory and is the author of the novel “Above the Universe Below.” He was a semifinalist in both 2011 and 2012 for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. He currently resides in Washington DC where he befriends gargoyles, feeds unicorns and combats two cats who try to smother him in his sleep.
Find the Author: Website