a taste of ‘The Last Summer of Hair’

by  Paul Ransom

from the novel The Last Summer of Hair, published November 2020

ISBN (paperback)  978-1-922427-14-4

ISBN (ePub)  978-1-922427-15-1

ISBN (Kindle)  978-1-922427-57-1

to purchase , click here for  paperback  /  ePub*  /  Kindle

*ePubs can be read on Apple devices, and all eReaders except Kindle



Nostalgia? she wonders; but then dismisses the idea as cliché. Anyway, Tony’s glories aren’t the kind you get nostalgic about. from The appointment

He lets himself believe she would be pleased to have him back under her roof. This is precisely the kind of poetic notion he has always been attracted to. He can imagine it as a scene in a European art film. As something beautiful. from An audience

At the funeral he had been unable to tear his eyes from Antonio. Still good looking and graceful in his movements … but miles away. So distant and vague that he failed to notice the off-putting smear of Christa Bell’s lipstick on his face. from An arrangement

Deep down, he is terrified that if he is no longer considered beautiful nobody will give him the time of day, and that all people will see is a sad middle-aged white man clinging pathetically to the life raft of delusional virility. from A promise of cinders

She does not trust him. Nor any man. She finds their vanity intolerable and their susceptibility to flattery and manipulation weak and stupid. Life has taught her that it is safer to regard them as little more than occasionally useful beasts of burden. from Ghosts

In public, he was the blue blazered and pimply marionette of elite private education. Certainly not First XV material, but clever enough to get high grades and follow a respectable and profitable path through university and onto a career that would do his family, his home town and the Old Collegians proud. from The end of certainty

Previously, his plan had been to isolate himself. To linger in the house with his mother’s ghost. Reacquaint himself with the museum pieces of his youth. from The redundancy of choice

She concedes the inherent risk but sees the potential benefit. She only hopes she has the smarts to know which is which. from An accidental hour

Jake has been back for a week already. The cloistered, nineteenth century kitsch of the school and the garish anonymity of the light speed city seem far off. The rhythm of the country is different – at once alien and familiar – yet it affords him space to think. from In the presence of others

Twisting the cap from the juice bottle, he laughs out loud, struck by the comical ordinariness of it. He has become the cliché he never wanted to be. There is nothing exceptional about him now. Maybe there never was. from In the ecstasy of emptiness

Yet, the entire crew have noticed he is not turning on the usual charm, not even flirting with the girls. Jake Salter seems to be the only one he has time for. However, it has been so busy in the lead up to Christmas that no one has had the time or the inclination to ask. from The end of history

He cues the tracks, selects the highest quality settings, and hits burn. As the machine whirs – its low, insect drone hypnotic – he thinks again of Gianna and begins to see how a measure of her doomed girl-pop longing has found its way into her son. And also into him. from Scenes viewed from above

‘Jeez, Chrissy,’ he had said the last time they met. ‘It’s like they’re both ashamed of us.’ ‘We’re probably too yokel for them,’ she had agreed, although, when she thinks about it, she realises there is more to it. from The children of disappointment

While he waits with the quietly deferential Shelley for Jim to wind up his call, he remembers something Tony said to him earlier in the day. ‘Be aware that you’re doing exactly the same thing to them.’ from The rapture of exiles

For the New Year would dawn with the sweetness of a taut young Indian lover. The tan coloured velvet of her form. Her white eyes. Black hair. Her desire. And his. from A year in the fire of time

For thirty years Gianna Sofia Timone looked across the space between her house on the hill and the disembodied places her son spoke of during phone calls – between her care and his other life – and it always seemed unbridgeable. from The consolations of abandonment

‘He’s still really good looking,’ the younger had said. ‘Lucky him,’ the elder had replied. from The king of history

Yet, when it was her turn, Shelley came calmly to the chair, aware of but unmoved by the presence of radar. Her tired, polite smile told Christa that she, for one, was not looking to make a scene or indulge the newsfeed of scandal. from The last summer in shitsville

Pulling the door to, he wonders what his mother will find when she peeks inside. How long it will take his father to realise. He imagines the fight that will ensue when he does. The loud and bullish bluster that will surely turn to a coughing fit. from The absence of objects

Once again, he will beat off in the shower before sliding into bed next to her. He will try to remember, for the umpteenth time, what brought them together, what it was she expected of him, and how he failed, so spectacularly, to deliver. from The ambiguity of survival

Tony checks his phone. A string of messages from Shelley. Sent, he guesses, in a burst of cortisol earlier in the evening. He reads them without reacting, sipping his beer, shaking his head. He looks over at the keyboard and other gizmos Jake has wired into Gianna’s sound system and says, ‘Apparently you grabbing all that gear wasn’t part of the deal.’ from The form of the good

Deep beneath the bluff reasoning though, Jim was not so concerned about fish. He had seen the rude maths of the business and heard rumours of rivals wanting to sell out before the numbers turned terminal. The boats, he believed, were unlikely to survive the decade. from The will to remain

Meanwhile, in the salons, bars and bedrooms of the Bay, the chatter will bubble up, like water tumbling on rocks, into a kind of collective judgemental splattering – none of which will particularly bother the protagonists. For theirs is now the village of distance. from The bell of forever

Yet in his heart he knows he is re-enacting his mother’s journey from servitude to untouchable refuge, from the prison of heritage to a porch overlooking a bay. Tony may not have been the most loving son but now, finally, he sees the emancipating expanse bequeathed him. from An autumnal condition

Her daughters would approve, and it is unlikely anyone in town would especially miss her. Not even Steve. Indeed, the ease and convenience of it is undeniable, its pragmatism appealing; and if the salon were to sell for a reasonable sum, she would not need to worry about money. from An offer too good

Since the bust up with Amanda, Vin has been drinking himself to sleep at night. He has passed out on the lounge a couple of times, crawling into bed in the early light, heavy and seedy. Dreading the idea of another day. from Skin without scars

‘So, be honest with me … doesn’t that mean whatever you were chasing out there was more important to you than what you already had back here? Than us? Than me?’ from Acts in the likeness of life



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