A Single Petal
Winner of the Local Legend Spiritual Writing Competition, A Single Petal, 'Murder, Politics and Passionate Love in Ancient China', is now available as an e-book.
Raymond Hume writes for the Winter edition of 'The Writer' (ISSN: 1754-6524):
A SINGLE PETAL
Oliver Eade ISBN 9 781907 203428 Local Legend
“There is beauty in everything, but a man may not always see it.” (Confucius/Kong Fuzi).
Since the success of Oliver’s Moon Rabbit, a story for children which celebrates Chinese culture, I’d been looking forward to this: his first novel for adult readers.
There’s an abundance of beauty in this book. Oliver won the Local Legend Spiritual Writing Competition Prize with it. I can understand why: it is a sensitive, poetic account of the faith, fears and irresistible forces within a community of peasant farmers, warriors, merchants, monks and noblemen, interacting with the central characters, a widowed village schoolteacher and his only daughter, and yet touching upon the future and fate of the Chinese Emperor and his Empire.This novel is a fictitious account of lives in Tang Dynasty (7th-10th Century) China, but is a moral tale of much wider applicability to other times and places. It highlights tensions between an ethnic minority (the Miao people) and the majority Han Chinese, who have a different language, culture, and religion: animism versus Tao/Dao belief systems, the latter encompassing Chinese Buddhism. There is also the ubiquitous tension between rich and poor, both in terms of material wealth and wealth of opportunity and intellect.
The ancient Chinese held their scribes, poets, artists and teachers in high and special esteem, as people who could grasp and portray, through metaphor and the tantalizing complexity and beauty of their calligraphy, everything of importance in life as they perceived it. This book, too, expresses these ideas: the nuances are inescapable. At a more immediate level, the story bursts, fizzes and snaps erratically and unpredictably like a Chinese firecracker through and between themes of love, lust, betrayal, kidnap, murder, malignant ambition, remorse, and hope. It is as gripping and absorbing as a modern action thriller or whodunit.
Dr Hume felt inspired by the book to revise an earlier poem he wrote. I am deelpy grateful to Rayomond for permission to publish his poem here:
A petal fell: it deafened me.
Its fading fragrance stifled me.
Shadows darkened, dazzling me.
Raindrops dripped, blistering me.
Senses sharpen, to fill the space
Of the lost-remembered loved-one’s place.
Seek forever, seek in vain,
A panacea for such pain.
Add a teardrop to the lake:
Bring its edge a little nearer.
Float a thought for the loved-one’s sake:
Make the petal’s progress clearer.
See, arising through the mist
In the breeze-blown petal’s same direction,
A blossoming the sun has kissed:
A lotus flower of pure perfection.
Completed 22.11.12, inspired by a novel by Oliver Eade
called A Single Petal.