How did I transform “Falcons and Seagulls, a Utah Tale”, from a collection of short stories about a hero’s exile to a novel about a global conspiracy whose embrasure, or covering, is filled with love lost and and found; a journey of redemption of a middle-aged man to recover and make amends for sins of his youth and a closely-knit fabric of family, religion and authority each contesting for the the hero’s soul?
Elastic story-telling and supple language; characters as diverse and accessible as a reader could desire; surprise which does not strain the believable—all delivered in a fast tempo resting on plausible outcomes in every chapter.
The novel is a work of fiction, with two well-known public figures who the author knew: Howard Hughes, the great aviator and movie mogul, and Harry Oppenheimer, the South African gold and diamond magnate. I knew both in vastly distant realms: Hughes, with whom my Utah family worked, attended the same exclusive boys’ school in Boston as I, our graduations forty years apart, 1920 and 1960: he was an early mentor; Oppenheimer through my banking travels to South Africa in the 1980’s. Much of the glue connecting these men is to be found in the Mormon Church, and it’s devotion to Israel.
The cover of the book shows primarily harsh western deserts of Utah; yet much of the story’s heart resides in New England, where, an exile from Utah, I grew up grew up sailing and enjoying the stringent irony in a definition of Puritanism: “The sneaking suspicion that somewhere, someone is happy.” Each reader must discover Solomon Fairchild’s journey to happiness: Is it with his tribe in Utah, who betrays him in this tale, or his exquisitely devoted twin sister, Leah, who pulls him back from the danger of the past?