Dan Duffy’s memoir Brother, Brother; mostly truth, part fiction, is a tribute to his older brother Rich, whom he will always consider a casualty of the post-Vietnam era. Missing in America for the past 45 years, Rich mysteriously reappears along with his ’66 GTO convertible and coerces Dan to retrace the cross-country route he took back in ’70 to settle in a commune in Corrales, New Mexico.
With Dan taking control behind the wheel and Rich in the passenger seat, Dan recreates some of Rich’s experiences as a flower child/Jesus freak. They visit places like The Badlands, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons, Elko Nevada, the Haight/Ashbury District, Yosemite, The Grand Canyon and Zion National Park in an attempt to understand the life Rich chose, which was so drastically different from Dan’s.
Along the way they relive memories of the brief 18 years they shared growing up in the absence of their alcoholic father in a struggling single parent household of five kids. In exploring their relationship, Dan confronts several personal issues surrounding the role Rich played in shaping who he is and the impact his disappearance has had on his life.
Jan Blais will be reading selections from his new novel Finding Botticelli, and excerpts from his novels Flight Path and Twentieth Century Limited.
Finding Botticelli begins with the theft of a sixteenth-century masterpiece from the museum of a small college west of Boston. In a bizarre twist, the thieves leave something behind that may be far more valuable – an apparently very old, very fine rendition of Boticelli’s Primavera. The story revolves around finding the stolen painting and discovering what the college really has on its hands – a genuine Botticelli or a clever fake. Even before tests are complete, the impetuous Fine Arts Department Chairman barges ahead, making the found painting, now being called “Primavera Due,” the centerpiece of a campaign to save the financially-troubled museum. Though fearful of embarrassing the college and wrecking her career, the young museum director bends to his pressure and begins organizing a blockbuster exhibition to showcase Due. The story ends with a bang and a surprise.
Flight Path is the story of a major international airline based in New York City and its confrontation with a small regional airline on the west coast. The time is 1978, deregulation is just taking hold and aggressive new airlines are springing up everywhere, undercutting the established airlines with low fares and service where there had been little or no competion. But despite the disruption, confusion and threat to the bottom line, they all must strive to maintain safe and reliable service.
In Twentieth Century Limited Paul Bernard, a disabled Vietnam vet, becomes a prize-winning reporter, foreign correspondent and network anchorman. Long critical of the radical right, after 9-11 Bernard attacks the Bush administration for allowing Osama bin Laden to escape and propelling the nation into a disastrous war. On assignment in Iraq, Bernard is killed under suspicious circumstances. Interwoven with Bernard’s account of his life is an interview of his professor/mentor by a reporter profiling Bernard for The New Yorker magazine. Frustrated by Washington’s excuses, they set about uncovering the truth behind the killing.
Originally from Rhode Island, Jan Blais has lived all over the country. Last year his wife Barbara and he relocated to Gloucester where he continues to consult and write. For further information see www.jandavidblais.com.