Green Cat Books
James Nelson Roebuck
James Nelson Roebuck
James Nelson Roebuck was born and grew up in the town of Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, where he still has his home. He has spent his working life almost entirely abroad in counties of such diverse complexion as China, Saudi Arabia and Brunei. The writers he most admires in the short story form are V.S. Pritchett, Somerset Maugham and William Trevor.
Alistair Morgan is a hard man. Teenage thug, soldier and nightclub bouncer, he did too much, too young, most of it bad. It haunts his sleep. But now he’s gone and got himself an education. Re-invented himself as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language. It’s 1992 in Saudi Arabia. The money’s good but the place can send you off your head. To make matters worse, he’s ended up working with a bunch of oldsters who don’t seem to need much help in going off theirs. Somebody has to keep the wheels on the bus, but why does it always have to be Ali Morgan? And then, there are these women who keep falling in love with him, who he can’t love back? It’s enough to make a poor boy cry. Except he’s never cried in his life. Maybe that’s the problem? Perhaps if he could soften up a bit, learn how to love, the nightmares might go away?
Can we ever free ourselves of our past? Not if the stories in Red Flags are anything to go by. From the love of two undergraduate students for one another - The Doghouse – reborn after forty years, to the redemption of a ruined libertine through servitude to the man he teased before his fall – Basher Baiting – the past, like some creature from the black lagoon, lurks beneath the surface of everything we do, jaws open.
The voices in this collection speak from the most unexpected of locations: the British-Jamaican queen of chic who hosts, reluctantly, from her premises in Suzhou, China, the Biblio-Bar International Literary Festival; in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, the young Englishman who married a rich murderess from a head-hunting tribe, and could never leave.
Red Flags is a lucky dip into the extremities of human life. Whatever you fish out, like life itself, might not be quite what you bargained for.