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This is all I Know

My first novel, 'This is all I Know' is now complete.

Click here to download the opening three chapters.

(Sample chapters require Adobe Acrobat Reader, or a compatible document reader.)

Synopsis: This is all I Know

Michael is living in a comfortable rut when everything that is familiar to him is slowly removed. His wife leaves him for a member of her local amateur dramatics club, he loses his job as a printer and is forced to sell up his home and move back in with his domineering mother, sister and wheelchair bound nan. All of whom are eager to look after him. 

Michael is not allowed to see his son Stanley until he can prove he has changed. By this his wife means being punctual, reliable and preferably to stop accidentally killing animals. Michael recognises that his relationship with his wife is over but he desperately misses Stanley. He begins to play with the kids on the street who help him deal with his loss and he reflects that due to work, he barely spent time with his family.

Michael resents the thought of getting another job. He recognises that the kids on the street are happy because they are free from routine and through their imaginative play, offer an alternative world he is more eager to embrace. His friends and family are sceptical that hanging around with children is a practical solution and that he is ‘hiding’ but that is only because they have forgotten the magical innocence of childhood. Time beats it out of us all, a recurring theme throughout.

The kids on the street are the solution because they fill Michael with hope and optimism. His situation is a gift, an opportunity to form a proper relationship with his son and to restart the university degree he gave up when he became a young father. Inspired Michael learns origami and leaves toys in the bushes for Stanley to find on his daily walk home from school. They are a substitute for words, enabling Michael to retain contact; to prove he will always be around.

Grateful but unable to live with his mother any longer, he converts her garage into a living space. It’s not ideal, but necessary. His wife recognises his unconventional efforts and agrees to joint custody, effectively making Michael a three and a half-day parent. With the flexibility allowed by his degree course and living costs at a minimum, he finally begins to exert control over his life. But for how long?

Later Michael meets Abisola and strikes up a more realistic relationship than the one he had with his wife, finding someone who has a similar outlook on life. She lives in another city and becomes his three and a half-day girlfriend, slotting perfectly into his life. Then his wife becomes pregnant with her new partner to fulfil her dream of having a bigger family, something that Michael had resisted due to financial pressures.

Towards the end of the book Abisola also falls pregnant. They have to make a decision about whether to keep the unplanned baby. Michael realises the sacrifices that keeping the baby will entail and doesn’t want to complicate his relationship with Stanley any further. But to have an abortion would be to kill the very thing which had given him purpose - the innocence of children. Rather than continuing to accept what is convenient, Michael is forced to make a decision.

This is all I know starts and ends at 5.30a.m. It is about relationships, acceptance and humility. It tries to find beauty and hope in life - whatever such a thing may be. 



All content © 2012 James K Walker