“The Persistence of Memory contrives a meeting place for memory, fantasy, and Shakespeare’s theater, with scenery and images that are unforgettably substantial and mysterious. Like Hamlet, with which the novel plays ingeniously, it is both contemplative and violent as it examines the haunting puzzles and intricacies of personality, relationship and role playing in life and in art. It manages to be intertextual and startlingly individual.”
— Barbara Hardy author of Swansea girl, London Lovers, and Shakespeare’s Storytellers
“In prose that is lyric, exacting and spare, The Persistence of Memory offers up the intriguing question: where exactly is it that stories begin and, perhaps even more puzzling, where do they end? Reading this novel is akin to peering inside the chambered nautilus, where layer upon layer delivers its own compelling account of history, where symmetry is not only to be admired but is integral to nature’s plan.”
— Jo-Ann Mapson, author of Hank and Chloe, Blue Rodeo, and Shadow Ranch
“With lyric spirit and language, Gordon McAlpine’s The Persistence of Memory brings to life a cast of originals in Sweetbriar, a town not found on your everyday map. Set against the backdrop of a ‘linen castle’ and the backwoods Shakespearean stage of a band of itinerant players, the novel is evocative and rewarding from its strange and disturbing opening scene to the closing (or opening, rather) of its end. If all the world’s a stage, then this is one where the characters work their magic not just on one another but on the audience/reader as well. A bravura performance, beautifully wrought and effectively resolved.”
–William Wiser, author of Disappearances, The Crazy Years, and The Circle Tour
The Books, Titles by Gordon McApline
What secrets do Orange County’s denizens have to tell…or hide?
“There’s a dark side to most places,” even California’s sunny Orange County, Edgar-winner T. Jefferson Parker observes in his forward to this outstanding entry in Akashic’s noir series, one of the stronger of the all-original anthologies. The crisp, often seductive prose of the 14 contributors is a tribute to the critical judgment of the editor, whose own assured story, “The Performer”, involves a heist at a dog food factory that ends with more than one surprise.
Robert Ward, a writer-producer for such TV shows as Hill Street Blues and Miami Vice, offers some wicked twists in “Black Star Canyon”, in which a fictional alter ego gets bounced from the program he created. Gordon McAlpine uses his narrator’s job as a security officer at Disneyland in “The Happiest Place” as an effective catalyst for a classic noir plot of betrayal. Other notable takes include Susan Straight’s “Bee Canyon” and Dick Lochte’s “The Movie Game”.
— Publishers Weekly starred review
Finding Stillness at 95MPH
Shawn Green’s career statistics can be found on the backs of baseball cards in shoe boxes across America…But numbers tell only part of the story. Shawn Green’s path to success was as grounded in philosophical study as in ballpark wisdom.
Striving to find stillness within the rip-roaring scene of major league baseball – from screaming fans to national scandals – Green learned to approach the sport with a clear mind.
In the tradition of Phil Jackson’s Sacred Hoops, Green shares the secrets to remaining focused both on and off the field, shedding light on a signature approach to living by using his remarkable baseball experiences to exemplify how one can find full awareness, presence, and, ultimately, fulfillment in any endeavor. Following his development from inconsistent rookie to established All-Star to aging veteran, The Way of Baseball illustrates the spiritual practices that enabled Green to “bring stillness into the flow of life”. Requiring mastery of perspective and continual management of ego, the game of baseball afforded him the opportunity to explore his potential as more than just a ballplayer.
A treasure of practical wisdom and an intimate look at what it really means to ‘let go’, The Way of Baseball illuminates the creative possibilities within us all.
Gordon McAlpine is the Edgar Award nominated author of numerous acclaimed novels, including the literary mysteries, Holmes Entangled, Woman with a Blue Pencil, and, under the pen name Owen Fitzstephen, Hammett Unwritten and The Big Man’s Daughter. He is also the author of an award winning trilogy of novels for middle grade readers, “The Misadventures of Edgar and Allan Poe”. He has published short fiction in journals and anthologies both in the U.S.A and abroad. A graduate of the M.F.A. program in creative writing at U.C. Irvine, he taught for many years at Chapman University in Orange, California.
In May 2020 Seventh Street Books published The Big Man’s Daughter, which received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and elsewhere and was described by The New Thrilling Detective Website as “…not a detective novel, or even a mystery, really, but a heady brew all the same; a ballsy, carefully assembled and psychologically sharp read that tears into the guts of what it’s like to be young, scared and not sure where you’re going. Or where exactly you’ve been.” In March 2018 Seventh Street Books published McAlpine’s Holmes Entangled, which Booklist, in a starred review, called “a fascinating read, smart and entertaining…” In 2015, Seventh Street Books published the Edgar nominated Woman With a Blue Pencil, about which Publishers Weekly wrote in a starred review: “McAlpine’s greatest accomplishment is that the book works both as a conventional mystery story and as a deconstruction of the genre’s ideology: whichever strand readers latch on to, the parallel stories pack a brutal punch.” Joyce Carol Oates wrote that Woman with a Blue Pencil is a novel, “that Kafka, Borges, and Nabokov, as well as Dashiell Hammett, would have appreciated.”
In 2013, Seventh Street Books published Hammett Unwritten to equally enthusiastic reviews. The Gumshoe Review wrote: “Hammett Unwritten raises questions about the nature of fiction and those who create it that will stay with you long after you finish the book.” Paste Magazine raved: “Hammett Unwritten accomplishes the next-best thing to writing the unwritten–it satisfies the insatiable longing for another Dashiell Hammett novel… In a way far more satisfying than the truth could ever be, it answers the nagging question of why Hammett never wrote another book… [It] gives his life the hard-boiled second act it most certainly deserved.”
Between 2013 – 2015, Viking published McAlpine’s middle grade (ages 9-12) trilogy of novels, “The Misadventures of Edgar and Allan Poe”, which consists of The Tell-Tale Start (2013), Once Upon a Midnight Eerie (2014), and The Pet and the Pendulum (2015). Publishers Weekly referred to the series in a starred review as “Entertaining and original…Endlessly fun and ultimately very satisfying on every level.” The audio version of The Tell-Tale Start was selected as Audible.com’s Best Children’s Book, 2013.
The Los Angeles Times called Mr. McAlpine’s first novel, Joy in Mudville (1989), an “imaginative mix of history, humor and fantasy…fanciful and surprising”, and The West Coast Review of Books called it “a minor miracle.” Joy in Mudville was re-released in 2012.
The Way of Baseball, Finding Stillness at 95 MPH (2011), McAlpine’s best selling first book of non-fiction, was written in collaboration with Major League All-Star Shawn Green and was published by Simon and Schuster to outstanding reviews.
McAlpine’s other novels include The Persistence of Memory (1998), and Mystery Box (2003).
He is a member of the Author’s Guild, PEN USA, The Mystery Writers of America, the International Association of Crime Writers and The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. He lives in Southern California with his wife Julie and their always-glad-to-see-you dogs, Finnegan and Diego.
Author photo © Adrian Kinloch
Gordon McAlpine Author