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Works

WHAT DO WE DO WITH OUR DEAD; A Meditation

An aged storyteller attempts to retrieve his beloved wife after her accidental fall and her journey through the dark corridors of American medical bureaucracy that led to her death. His quest continues as he confronts the onerous details involved in the administration of that death. To his surprise, the song of his lament turns joyful as he recalls their discovery of one another, the blossoming of their love, and the details of their happy life together. In the darkness of death and bright light of his memories, he slowly invents appropriate ceremonies to celebrate the woman who illuminated his life. His song only ends when he deposits her ashes and discovers that she remains alive within him.

The Teeth of God

THE TEETH OF GOD, a novel about the power and danger of imagination, proceeds on three levels that alternate throughout the work: (1) the life of Eugene Wolfe who practices dentistry in Northern California; (2) a play Eugene has written about Ramon San-Souillard, a California culture hero in search of his soul with the northern California Indians; (3) and the many gods—Christian, Jewish, and Native American--who squabble over the fate of Eugene and Ramon. Each level affects the other levels. The novel ranges in time from 1923 to the present and in place between Detroit, northern California, and Paris. Eugene identifies with Ramon’s wild rebellious spirit, qualities that have been sadly missing from Eugene’s life. Like Ramon, he attempts to find a true home and a soul in which he believes. Eugene’s quest casts his beloved wife Miranda and their three children adrift forcing them to rediscover the meaning of their lives. The inept gods interfere with the progress of the novel and affect the lives of all the characters.

Six Hands Clapping

Six Hands Clapping is a unique American family story depicting the recent rise of Zen Buddhism in the United States. The tale is told from the point of view of the children of two American-born Zen leaders. It is a story of love, utopian religious ideals, and human frailty that has been repeated in different forms on this continent since the landing at Plymouth. The novel begins when the mother invites her grown children to witness her suicide at her Women’s Meditation Center in the Yolla Bolly Wilderness of Mendocino County. The children narrate the family history in dramatic scenes as they journey from London, Brooklyn, and the battlefields of the Hindu Kush Mountains. We learn that their mother, like a good Samurai Zen woman, is determined to defeat her enemy, cancer, before it destroys her. As she awaits the arrival of her children, she completes the story of her marriage to their charismatic father, his serial seduction of his Buddhist followers, and the marital break-up..
Although the children have fled Buddhism, their lives have been profoundly altered by their parents’ practice. This final scene confirms the three most fundamental Buddhist principles of existence: impermanence, suffering, and not-self.

Belief, A Novel

BELIEF, A NOVEL a contemporary tale, portrays a man whose search for God and whose caregiving infuriates his family and friends. The hero’s spiritual and fleshly appetites are closely allied. He feels most connected to life and God during the act of loving and love-making.
The lives of the women for whom he cares—wives, daughters, and lovers —unfold as they try to unravel the mystery that surrounds his initial plight. When the book opens, the hero is in a coma supposedly induced by a drunken fall on the edge of a swimming pool. In this state, he is the subject of a number of legal charges relating to his real-estate business, his abetting the flight of a fugitive Weatherperson, and his sexual activi- ties with underage boys and girls. The hero’s lawyer-daughter seeks the true cause of his injury and supposed crimes. The novel proceeds as a mystery story that tracks down the true criminals while revealing the life history of the hero and his family that has placed him at such risk.

Two Russian Bicycles

Two Russian
Bicycles

By Bill Broder

A Fictional Journey into
the Past on Two Novellas

As it might have been recounted
by the author’s great-uncle,
for whom he was named


History Shaped by the Small Battles of Hearth, Friendship, and Love

“Two Russian Bicycles” consists of two curiously related novellas prophetic of the future course of Russian and world history. Both, based on historical fact, reveal how the small battles of the hearth, friendship, and love shape history and underlie the effort to remain human in times bedeviled by a brutal destiny.

“Tolstoy’s Wife” depicts Sonya Tolstoy’s struggle for the love of her husband, Leo Tolstoy—a struggle intimately shaped by her belief in the values that inform Tolstoy’s great novels. She contends with Tolstoy's fear of death and his longing for salvation that drive him to abandon his fiction and become, in her eyes, a "second-rate" prophet of a primitive Christianity. Tolstoy's devoted daughter, Sasha, and his Christian disciple, Doctor Kholkov, join forces to wrest the copyright for Tolstoy's great works from Sonya in order to donate their proceeds to “the people.” Although all the characters act for the highest of motives, their lives are warped by their uncompromising natures. Doctor Kholkov's aborted courtship of Sasha, Sasha's ambivalent relationship to her mother and her enslaving devotion to her father form a moving undercurrent in the tale.

“The Sphynx of Kiev” focuses on the importance of Lenin's character and personal life in shaping the distinctive properties of the two Russian Revolutions at the beginning of the twentieth century. The events take place in Geneva and London at the moment when Lenin forged the foundation for the Bolshevik Party to counter democratic tendencies among his socialist revolutionary peers. The novella dramatizes Lenin's marriage, the break-up of his longstanding friendship and revolutionary partnership with Martov, and the disillusionment of a young follower as Lenin turns to a brutal repression of all ideological enemies within the movement.

Available in trade paper or Kindle on Amazon, Redroom, or through Bill Broder
web sites: www.billbroder.com www.redroom.com/Billbroder

The Thanksgiving Trilogy is now available at www.Amazon.com and www.Redroom.com in paperback, Kindle, or e-book form.

The THANKSGIVING TRILOGY, a fifty year saga, follows a group of friends who left their blood families in the East and formed close relationships in the San Francisco Bay Area – a family formed in exile, as it were. The annual reunion of this “family” takes place at Thanksgiving dinners – a practice of many groups of exiles in the West. Each novel is complete in itself and could be published alone. Although the lives and relationships of the characters are paramount in the work, the three books present a portrait of the human and historical dilemmas in our country for half a century. American literature has long thrived on mining the specific regions that have contributed to the American ethos.

The Sacred Hoop

The Sacred Hoop is fiction, but all the tales rest upon archological or historical evidence. Most of the characters unquestionanly lived. I have wanted to show the changing relationship of humankind to earth in the Western world. I have therefore attempted to place my characters in situations pertinent to these problems.

A Prayer for the Departed

The drama of the book follows a voyage of the author from his home as he leaves his widowed mother and all that she demands. As he revisits his family on important occasions, he carries on a life-long dialogue, often an argument, with his mother about the differences in their lives. From her he learns about her early years and those of his father and how those experiences shaped their lives and the lives of their siblings. His grandmother’s Old World preference for her sons profoundly affected his mother and his aunt, robbing them of the self-confidence their talents merited. His father’s early death leaves the author to deal with his mother’s hysteria when his older brother marries out of the faith. Later, a dead uncle reaches out with a posthumous gesture of affection by entrusting the author with a legacy for delivery to a nurse with whom his uncle fell in love years before on the World War II battlefields of Italy. The book ends when the author returns as a middle-aged man to express his love and appreciation for his mother and her generation as she declines into dementia and her life’s end.

Broder has written the book in the tradition of the Jewish prayer for the dead, the Kaddish. Death is the occasion to celebrate the lives of those who have died and to demonstrate gratitude for all life. His book aims to remind readers of the values, love and conflicts of a 20th century Jewish-American family. “The failure of memory,” Broder says, “puts the future in peril.” Broder intends his book, “A Prayer for the Departed,” to be for readers of all ages, who appreciate the importance of the past, family lore and dramatic presentation of characters through their domestic struggles.

“A Prayer for the Departed: Tales of a Family through the Decades of the Last Century” is available for sale online at Amazon.com and other channels.

 

A Man of No Rank; The Memoir of a Storyteller. Story is the essence of the identity of every human being. At birth, we enter a story already made for us and until the story is shattered it is our destiny. Eventually, death, war, accident, bankruptcy or earthly disaster shatters our personal story and we must create a new one to give our lives meaning. This book is the chronicle of one man's progress out of his family's story, through various accidents of life to the meeting of a good woman who helped lead him to storytelling. Both the author and his wife did not come to their craft solely by accident. Very early, stories provided both solace and hope for them. They took refuge from the stresses of life in the wonder they found in a whole array of tales that arrived first in bedtime stories, then in books. They discovered the treasures of public libraries. Later magazines and even movies wove the mysteries of life into meaningful sequences. When they first met, they discovered that they admired the same sort of stories, followed by the realization that they admired the same sort of people, which is what good stories are about. It was then they devoted the rest of their lives to each other and to the craft. The remainder of the book narrates the arduous path the author took in his career as a fiction writer, a playwright, and a free-lance writer for institutions—schools, museums, and other spaces devoted to the education of the public. At the end of the book, the author's life-narrative is shattered by his wife's death. Once again, he must make up a new story—the story of living alone.

Taking Care of Cleo

Running through Taking Care of Cleo is a subtle and life-affirming perception of autism, which becomes one bright threat in a novel that is by turns serious, ironic, and comic, and ends with a happy surprise.