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Archive for July, 2012

Latest novel: Only a Signal Shown

cover of my latest novel

This novel is just out on Amazon Kindle for £2.06 – if you like it, why not post a review on Amazon? It is a long-distance love story set in several different continents over three decades.  The paperback version cost £7.99

Mathison by Leela Dutt

As I’m about to upload my latest novel “Only a Signal Shown” onto Amazon Kindle, I thought I’d sell off some copies of my earlier paperbacks – so here’s one you might like:

2012 see the centenary of the birth of Alan Turing, early pioneer of computing, who devised the famous Turing Test: can we make a computer program which is capable of tricking someone into thinking it is a human, Turing wondered? This novel goes a big step further – it claims to be a whole story written by a computer program called Mathison. It’s the compelling story of one family throughout the twentieth century, involving an Indian home in Kolkata where a baby is born in 1900 and a Jewish dentist in Nuremberg in the 1930s. It’s set in Los Angeles, Golders Green and South Wales. There are Quakers in Germany in the 1930s and in Wales in the 1990s, as two parallel story lines converge at the end of the century with the birth of a baby, the child to whom Mathison addresses his story.

Price: £3.20 including postage within the UK. Send an email with your postal address to leeladutt@hotmail.com This is also my PayPal email if you want to pay that way.

ISBN 09529782 0 2

Review of Skios by Michael Frayn

You’ve just arrived at a small airport – a holiday destination, perhaps. After trudging wearily through customs, you are met with a sea of unknown faces, holding up placards with strange names on them: taxi for Ms K. Smith, Thompson Holidays, Aegean Coaches, Dr. Norman Wilfred… Have you ever been tempted to go up to one of them and pretend to be the person they are waiting for? That in a nutshell is the plot of this brilliant farce: Oliver Fox, a young man with hair like Boris Johnson and a perennially complicated social life, steps on impulse into the shoes of a distinguished academic on the international conference circuit. I picked this book up at the Hay Festival and read it in three days. The charming Michael Frayn obligingly wrote ‘to Leela’ in it, but of course he wasn’t billed to talk about Skios at all – the blurb advertising his session was about his previous book on his father, in effect his own autobiography: as in this novel, nothing is ever what it seems to be. Skios is an imaginary Greek island, though many of Frayn’s readers have told him they’ve been there. You should pack the book if you are off on holiday to just such an idyllic island; you’ll be able to laze about in thirty-three degrees, smelling the bougainvillea and sipping your ouzo. Or maybe you should pack it if you are off to Norway? There’s an intriguing cast of characters. While Oliver Fox struggles to work out where the hell Nikki, this attractive young PA, is taking him, discovering that he is due to give the keynote address tomorrow night at the Foundation’s annual highlight, the real Dr. Norman Wilfred is left adrift at the airport, no one to meet him as promised; where will he go? Meanwhile Oliver’s ex-girlfriend turns up at the villa she owns, planning to meet him there, and the current girl he’d picked up in London and has known for five whole minutes, unexpectedly arrives early… And much more; you are in for a treat. Oh and of course I bought the other book as well – My Father’s Fortune.

Review of 27 by R.J.Heald

27 is an absorbing novel which revolves round a set of friends who met at university and have all now reached the landmark age of twenty-seven. What have they done with their lives? Have they reached the place they hoped they would by now? We follow them through a year which turns out to be momentous for each of them.

The characters are sharply observed and as I read, I quickly came to feel they were my friends too – I almost looked them up on Facebook! They are very different from each other in personality and in the problems that life throws at them. Among others there’s Katie, just back from teaching in India and wondering what to do next; Andy who has come to see that his marriage is no longer working; James the perfect one who seems to have everything, until his friends discover that he has nothing; and Dave – dear hopeless Dave; what can I say about Dave?

It is particularly enjoyable to see how they react with each other – some of them support each other, some are neglectful, and occasionally a character is quite unable to see why the others are so self-absorbed and wrapped up in petty problems. Because we know them all so well, we see every problem from several different points of view and we sympathise with each one of the friends.

The tension builds up over the year as we really need to know how their separate problems can be resolved. All along we feel we are in the hands of an accomplished storyteller, and of course there is a satisfying climax.

27 is out on 23rd July on Kindle and in paperback


A wet night in …

A wet night in Tom Quad

The cannons were fired by soldiers in Napoleonic uniforms; we’d seen them marching around the place for some hours, impatiently awaiting their time. Cathedral bells too; and then the dark shapes of men silhouetted on the roof set off the fireworks – more bangs, and glorious cascades of light across the night sky. Loud; but only slightly louder than the relentless drumming of heavy rain on stonework, umbrellas, ground and plastic sheeting which had accompanied the whole evening in Tom Quad, Christ Church.

It was Midsummer’s Day in Oxford – surely a good choice for an open air Jubilee concert? This was to commemorate the famous 1961 event, witnessed by my future husband from his room overlooking Tom Quad.  I had heard about it often over the decades; they had played Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture that year, the first time it had been performed in this country with real cannons, and so it was decided to repeat that concert in 2012, on the anniversary of the defeat of Napoleon’s invading army before Moscow.

There was other stirring music at the beginning – Dvorak’s New World symphony, Walton’s Crown Imperial, and Verdi’s Triumphal March from Aida. To be honest the huge sixteenth century quad was not quite full to capacity, and occasionally during the evening a few sodden and less than resilient folk were seen to slip away. But we were lucky – we got an upgrade on our tickets and we were allowed to sit in a covered stand, so we stayed to the end and went on our way up the road with the rousing climax of the 1812 echoing in our ears.


Tom Quad

Tom Quad

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