I am the Local Atheist
"Once I was hooked, it was a read I just wanted to get back to. The author describes life in a community that defines itself by its religious or atheist stance and where everyone is always a bit under some sort of social scrutiny. The characters have depth and we follow them with interest as they make us reflect on various aspects of life in a Kiwi town. For a first novel, Stubbs shows great skills. On the whole, the novel is well written: it is a pleasure to read."
- M (Amazon-fr reviewer)
In the dreary rain-soaked town of Invercargill where artists attempt to express themselves amidst conflicting interests of the galleries and those supporting them, where employment is the grind of industrialism appeasing the great capitalist dream, where fun is holed up in a warm bedroom playing video games, where escape is drifting further and further into the brain-numbing effects of drugs and alcohol; Christians try their hardest to get along with the local atheists.
Angry. Frustrated. Lonely. Unemployed.
Ready to begin again, ready to forget and leave all his past behind. But can he overcome the mistakes of his past, can he forgive himself? Or will he simply allow his ego to take control and decide all future decisions for him?
Fun, argumentative, sceptical to the core, but ultimately thoughtful about others. With no skills and little motivation to up-skill himself, Lucas goes from job to job whether it's paid or unpaid, often voluntarily helping out, in order to pursue his own personal journey of discovery without being tied down to society's demands. But will Lucas-Anthony's concerns for not much more than his own desires be the ultimate bad influence on David?
Though she is well-meaning, Lisa's reappearance in David's life only brings back memories that are hard to deal with, and realisations that he will eventually have to confront. But Lisa has her own motivation for asking so many questions...
The new-to-Invercargill Christian girl who is sweet, kind, and ready to take on the challenge that God has presented her with, but will her human feelings threaten to divert her from God's chosen path?
Auralye on a Harp
I could never have foreseen how the future would unfold into my present the way it did on that night. A man foresees little, and only has the past to go on. Sometimes you think that you will forever avoid any questionable life choices you are forced to face, because after all, life itself could never be so cruel; yet there exists a moment when every man sees his future, sees it so clear like the twinkling of stars in a summer sky.
That future is a glimpse, like a snapshot; one moment in time that sparkles for the rest of his life.
Patrick Almont is a failed composer, a man who has fantasised about his dream girl, his perfect woman, for years. Years on end of empty nights after stress-filled days of teaching music at a high school, watching students come and go as they attempt their transitions into adulthood, dealing with management's inconsiderate disregard for the Arts preferring to grow equally inconsiderate young men through Sports instead.
But with Auralye, a talented young trumpet student, entering his class, all of a sudden Patrick's attention is much more focused than it ever had been before. Focused on the purity of her expressions like they were pure youth growing into an adult, a beginning musician that was talented far beyond her years and could lift his Music Department into something worthy of being paid attention to.
But as he focuses more on Auralye and her lessons, the more he finds himself attracted to this student who seems to represent everything he thought could ever have imagined in his perfect woman - here is the dream turned to reality.
But is it a reality he can accept? Can he allow himself to fall for a student and jeopardise his entire career? Will he allow himself to betray his role as a caregiver just to allow the dream to come true?
And can Patrick dare to imagine Auralye has the same feelings as him? Is she the innocent teenager that he wants to believe? Or does she have entirely different motivations for being in his classroom?
* * *
This novel is far more than just a novel about a grown man with an obsession for a teenager. It is an indictment on the male psyche as it obsesses and ignores other people around him; it is an assessment on the far-reaching consequences of male behaviour and it's thoughtlessness towards other people.