A few minutes ago I published a book on Amazon that’s so old it’s new again. After by Claire Tristram was originally published in 2004 by Farrar Straus & Giroux. It’s the story of two people damaged by acts of war and terrorism, and how they come together to try to heal one another. It does not go well. I first wrote a version of this novel in the wake of 9/11. The novel is relentlessly, deliberately dark. I had all rights reverted to me a few months ago, and since then I’ve spent some time with this story, making it more my own than it had ever felt after it went through the editorial process when first published.
I’ve wanted to change aspects of this novel for a long time and I was delighted to have the chance. Most of all it has always bothered me that this novel was labeled “erotic” by my publisher when in fact I was writing a horror story. I’ve tried to make my original intent more obvious in this version.
If you’ve already read the FSG version of After you may not notice much of a difference, but it feels very different to me. For one thing there is a different outcome for one of my characters. If anything, this version is darker, reflecting I suppose how little the world has changed since I first wrote the novel. The story line is similar enough to the original printed version, though, that I didn’t feel it was wrong to retain the same title.
I’m planning to release a bright hopeful version of this story in early 2020, titled Changiz, after one of the characters. I care for these characters enough that I wanted to create a happier version of the story for them to live in…an alternate universe of sorts, where they finally get what they want from life.
Ok. A few words about After as a reading experience. I can’t honestly recommend my own book for people who loved The Book of Dog by Lark Benobi, or who like their books full of cheer…because After is not cheerful. When this novel first came out it got a lot of enraged reviews. BUT if you ever find yourself in the mood for a harsh relentless read, maybe something to go with a certain, raging-at-the-world kind of mood that you wake up with one day, I can recommend After for that! No ebook yet but if you can’t afford the going price feel free to ping me and I’ll send you a PDF.
(the cover photo, by the way, is taken at oceanside, on a cloudy day, during a total eclipse)