Comox Valley author Rick Howell will be reading from his debut novel Caressing Isis at the Courtenay Library on Thursday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m.
Caressing Isis recounts a middle aged man’s attempt to discover love and in so doing finds himself. As much a spiritual journey as an erotic one, Howell’s protagonist, Wayne Lacombe, bounces between a variety of women in settings as diverse as the soup kitchen and the antiquities of Egypt.
The structure is a chronicle that begins in 1980. Seventeen episodes in Lacombe’s life follow, each chapter set one year apart. At the opening, Wayne, age 30 , is vaguely aware of the emptiness and longing that haunt his every attempt at relationship. In spite of continual failure and ongoing calamity he pursues the search for love in the hope of discovering his better self. The tone of the novel is comic with bursts of unbridled humour that slowly ebb into darkness as the plot unfolds.
Some settings of the novel may be recognizable to Comox Valley readers, even though the
Valley is never mentioned. A local golf course is featured in one chapter, the community band in another; the aquatic centre provides the environment for an early encounter. The Comox harbour is the background for the dragon boat episode and a local fish hatchery figures strongly in Wayne’s slow healing at the hands of Sarah, the embodiment of Isis.
The novel is available at Friesen Press: bit.ly/1usiMC3 in hardcover, softcover or e-book. A limited supply is also available at The Laughing Oyster Bookstore in Courtenay.