DOWN INDEPENDENCE BOULEVARD
AND OTHER STORIES
Author Ken Puddicombe follows up on his two novels: RACING WITH THE RAIN and JUNTA with a collection of short stories, some of which have been previously published in The Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing, The Fiddlehead and Wasafari.
- JOHN DIAS, twelve, a free-wheeling spirit who finds school an encumbrance, and would rather spend his time wandering around the city, gambling and fraternizing, is heading to the Legislature to protest against the government’s upcoming budget. The protest soon degenrates into a full scale riot in which JOHN is caught in the middle.
- OMAR, in the Georgetown jail where he’s been sentenced to death for the murder of his lover Sita, reflects on how he has ended up in his current predicament.
SOUNDS IN THE NIGHT [published by Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad].
- LATA, who had to flee her home in Wismar, McKenzie down the Demerara River, now lives in INDEPENDENCE BOULEVARD and has recurring nightmares after being caught in the disturbances in the mining town.
A HOME LIKE NO OTHER
- CASSANDRA, a teacher, and her husband ROAN who have built a prosperous life for themselves in what is an East Indian predominant village on the East Coast of Demerara, has decided to immigrate to Canada, to the displeasure and reluctance of her husband ROAN who would rather remain in Guyana.
DOWN INDEPENDENCE BOULEVARD [published as JACK OF ALL TRADES in Fiddlehead Magazine].
- JACK, a taxi driver, who has had a run-in with his wife is driving down the recently named INDEPENDENCE BOULEVARD, and comments about the collapse in the infrastructure of the country after independence. On his return home he will have a confrontation with his brother-in-law, placing both of them in harm’s way.
WHY MEN LEAVE
- RAM, prison warder at the Georgetown Jail, has suffered over the years from abuse on the job and from his wife at home. JACK finds himself in the same situation. They make plans to leave the country, along with a growing exodus of people disillusioned over the outlook for the post-independence era.
THE FAMILY PICTURE
- LATA’S three children have arrived from abroad for their father’s funeral in INDEPENENCE BOULEVARD. Their conversation opens old wounds that will result in a fractured family relationhip.
RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL
- JOHN, back in Guyana, discovers his father, from whom he was alienated, has passed away. He and his brother CARL reminisce about the Old Man, with whom JOHN had a less than cordial relationship.
A LOVERS TRYST
- JOHN DIAS who is on his way to the Timehri Airport to catch a plane after his father’s funeral, is witness to a couple having an alterncation, leading to a physical confrontation and police involvement.
THE LAST STRAW
- ZORINA, now living in Canada, feels she’s had the last straw with the mental abuse inflicted on her at the hands of her husband and mother-in-law.
RELICS IN THE ATTIC
- LILLIAN and her two sisters, who have just buried their father in Toronto, decide to purge the attic of his possessions stored after their immigration from British Guiana where he lived at INDEPENDENCE BOULEVARD. What they find in the attic will surprise LILLIAN.
OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR
- ROAN is on the way to work in Brampton when he has a near accident. At work there is a function taking place for the winding down of the Canadian arm of the American company. How the event ends will surprise ROAN.
THE EFFECTS OF LIGHT RAYS ON THE MILKY WAY AND OTHER CONSTELLATIONS
- ECLIFFE [CLIFF] is always caught in the middle of an ongoing confilct between his wife and teenage daughter. They are on their way to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario for a vacation. He has not broken the news to them as yet about his layoff from the company he’s worked for over 31 years. While they are there, the entire eastern seaboard of North America is plunged into a blackout that will tax their resources in coping with it.
RAM SINGH GONE AND NEVAH COMING BACK
- RAM awakens in hospital in New York and ponders how he has gotten there. He was a mail-room supervisor in the World Trade Centre in New York, when terrorists hijacked two planes and flew them into the twin towers. RAM is told he will be up for a substantial settlement and recognition for saving the life of one of the survivors, but there are things in his past that will make him think twice about this.
- IAN, retired Professor, has led a full life. He’s in his house in Toronto, contemplating his future, when a snow storm hits in December and he ponders over his life so far, his divorce and alienation from his daughter.
YOU CAN NEVER GO HOME
- GORDON has never been satisfied with his life in Canada after he and his family were uprooted due to racial conflict in British Guiana. He yearns to return to Guyana where democracy has arrived and business is thriving. What he will find when he returns to the country of his birth, and for which he still feels a strong connection, will surprise him.
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