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Ivory Black

Ivory Black

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In 2005, after four months in hospitals, Dick Rayburn returns home with a limp, a disfigured face, and pain. Around tense conversations between him and his wife, Valerie, concerning their absent son, Jamie, the narrative weaves memories triggered by objects in the house. An old self-portrait draws him back to his childhood and the studio of his father, who trained Dick to be an artist, while an article critical of the Iraq War, by the journalist to whom he was engaged when they were graduate students, resurrects the person he was and the woman he loved. Dick relives his evolution from a young artist and left-wing university student to the war profiteer Valerie blames for Jamie being in Iraq, and cannot stop reliving the horror that he witnessed the day he flew into Fallujah and was shot down as his helicopter left the city. To cope with the memories that haunt him, Dick returns to his passion for painting. He paints what he saw in Fallujah, the person he feels he has become, and the loved ones he has lost. The images emerge from a deep, dark background, the principal ingredient of which is ivory black.

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About the author

Brian Duren was born and raised in Minnesota. After earning a Doctorate in French literature from the University of Paris, as well as a B.A. in English and a Ph.D. in French from the University of Minnesota, he taught modern French Literature and European cinema at the Universities of Texas, Tulsa, Iowa, and Minnesota. He eventually left teaching and became an administrator at the University of Minnesota. Retired, he now works full-time as a writer. Brian’s first novel, Whiteout, described by the St. Paul Pioneer Press as a “stunning debut novel, worthy of national recognition,” won the Independent Publisher Gold Medal for Midwestern Fiction. His second novel, Ivory Black, is forthcoming from Guernica World Editions. His third novel, The Gravity of Love, is forthcoming from Between the Lines Publishing.