The Special and the Ordinary
Author: David Clapham
Genre: Coming of Age
John Haworth, despite innate shyness, has floated upward in a comfortable English home environment under the influence of much older sisters and their friends. After he begins a new school in the early fifties, the seven-year-old is looking lost when a classmate, Martin Holford, decides to take him under his wing. And so begins a long friendship.
Ordinary rules of life apparently do not apply to the confident Martin except, perhaps, when he allows his mischievous humor excessive free rein against the self-important. While on separate coming-of-age journeys, Martin and John get on fine, despite John’s occasional resentment about Martin’s ability to bounce back after perpetrating ‘wrong notes’ against the wealthy while John slaves away attempting to make new music sound modern. John, who has no desire to be to be an apathetic musician like his viola teacher, unfortunately lacks the talent, personality, and love of limelight to match his glamorous piano teacher or Katherine, the singer he accompanies on the piano. Now all he has to do is somehow find his place amid an uncertain career as a ghost composer where chances come as infrequent as success.
The Special and the Ordinary shares the unique story of two young people as they come of age and step into the future, each with a different idea on what it means to be true to themselves.
iUniverse awarded The Special and the Ordinary the ‘Editor’s Choice’ designation. Here are excerpts from the enthusiastic editorial reviews:
“Definitely a worthwhile read, I recommend The Special and the Ordinary to lovers of literary fiction.” – Pacific Book Review
“…heartwarming and uplifting.” – Kirkus Reviews
“The writing is clear and refreshing, with clean sentences that move the story along at a brisk pace.” – Clarion Review
David Clapham grew up in in Sheffield, England and studied botany at Oxford. After working at the Welsh Plant Breeding Station in Aberystwyth, Wales, he moved to Uppsala, Sweden, where he still lives today. David and his Swedish wife Lena have two children. He has also published Odd Socks with iUniverse in 2013.
As the judge in a complicated case involving an oil-bunkering gang, Sir Carter Braxton finds himself totally under the security provided by a mysterious figure, Sidi el-Hassam, a wealthy Arab who commands a volunteer group that specializes in preventing crude oil theft. The isolation under which he now lives causes him to miss his best friend’s funeral in 1993 for reasons that must remain inexplicable to his friends, the Falconer family, who live in the Forest of Dean, where they grow restoration oak. Finding herself in London, the widow, Valerie Falconer, an American from Texas, slips into one of Carter’s trials as a spectator, after which she discovers the conditions under which her old friend has been living for over three years. However, a third element also mixes into the situation in that both Carter and the Sidi, separately, have volunteered to participate in the refining of the GSP satellite system now being tested by NASA. This tracking system allows Carter to move temporarily to Texas to draw one of his assassins out. Not only is this the story of a man under physical stress and emotional stress; it is also a record of his spiritual journey led by his friend and later wife, Valerie, as well as the spiritual journey of the Sidi, which has been generated by an apparition of Mary in Zeitoun, Egypt.
Lanayre Liggera holds an MA from Tufts University and another from Cambridge-Goddard Graduate School, where she became interested in the history of woman as portrayed by music, which led to the formation of the New Harmony Sisterhood Band, with Lanayre on banjo. The students’ research produced the book All Our Lives, which was used on college campuses until radicals blew up the publisher, Diana Press. Sometime later, she began to pursue a long-held interest in early aviation. Inevitably, this led studying World War I, spending several tours of the Western Front sponsored by our parent organization, the Western Front Association, US branch. Lanayre was named chairman of the New England–New York chapter, a post which she held for fourteen years, which held a yearly conference at a different location in our region. She and her husband were involved as volunteers in prison ministry for eighteen years as well as in nursing homes, soup kitchens, and the VA. They live in Hudson Valley, where they try to keep up with the comings and goings of their global grandchildren. She is the author of The Life of Robert Loraine: The Stage, the Sky, and George Bernard Shaw.