Basil's Dream, a novel.
Lucy Langston's marriage is failing when her husband Darrell is suddenly offered a new job as CFO for an American insurance firm in Bermuda. With their twelve-year-old son Peyton, they leave their affluent Connecticut life to start anew in a paradise of pink beaches and quaint British decorum.
All too soon, a darker reality emerges, and each of them becomes secretly entangled with Marcus Passjohn—a charismatic opposition leader known for his defense of the island's underclass—and Marcus's alienated son Zef, a budding anarchist.
Darrell slips into an intrigue to destroy Passjohn's credibility.
Peyton, bullied at school, takes refuge in a frightening delinquency with Zef.
And Lucy, seeking to reclaim her son before it's too late, enters a compelling alliance with Marcus Passjohn, one that quickly escalates into a powerfully transforming love affair.
WHY I WROTE BASIL'S DREAM - a personal epiphany
I began expatriate life in Bermuda eight months pregnant, clasping my three-year-old by the hand. The trailing spouse of an American executive, I'd left behind in the States my freelance writing work and all my friends and family. Right away at a Meet-a-Mum social, I encountered a lively group of expatriate women—Canadians, British, and citizens of other Commonwealth countries—who gave me and my belly the benefit of bemused doubt even though they and their husbands clearly regarded Americans as embarrassingly money-obsessed and grossly politically naïve. The white upper-class Bermudian who showed me homes warned me with a frank aphorism about the impenetrable civility I and my kind could expect from her social set: "You're welcome to the garden, but please don't come to tea." One morning in a working-class neighborhood, inside a charming bakery smelling tantalizingly of fresh-baked bread, I found myself the only white person among black Bermudians enjoying coffee and rolls. For several minutes my presence was pointedly not noticed, and when I politely asked the proprietress at the counter if I might buy a loaf of bread, she replied with quite chilling ire: "On the island we say 'good morning' before we ask for what we want."
Put firmly into my place as white, American, gauche, and utterly unwelcome, I caught my breath, said, "Good morning," and asked again to buy some bread. Thereafter, I never failed to greet the locals humbly before I said anything else, and launched myself with a writer's tenacious curiosity into observation of the way class, color, and nationality played out in Bermuda's social and political activities. My preconceptions overturned, and my life stilled by unemployment and a nursing infant, I took time to watch, listen, and read the daily newspaper cover to cover. I gradually discovered a complex culture, differing in myriad subtle ways from the American one it served and the British one it appeared to mimic. When I'd departed the States, and again when I moved back several years later, people gushed about the life they imagined for me in Bermuda. "How exotic! How exciting! Must have been wonderful!"
I couldn't tell the complicated truth, not in a few sentences. Not in a few paragraphs, either. I found myself tongue-tied, or contradicting myself statement by statement as I tried to explain what I felt about a place that overwhelmed, challenged, and changed me; the place where one of my children learned to walk and the other started school; an island which, after all, inspired Shakespeare to conjure up Caliban and Ariel. I think of my novel as my answer to all those people who found me strangely speechless. I think of it, too, as a very unique piece of travel writing. I've taken my astonishment at what I experienced there, and made from it a completely fictional creation. Because I can't tell you, I will show you: the truth, a novel, Basil's Dream.