New title from Eliot Press

Brief Castles

What is more absurd? A world in which his dad still lives three years after his death, or that in which he doesn’t exist at all? While Jack still struggles to come to terms with his loss, three years earlier Tom struggles with cancer. One grieves for the past, the other for the future, and somewhere in between, within that parallel world, they must meet again to say goodbye.

In the wake of his diagnosis, just shy of his 50th birthday, Tom tries to help his son come to terms with this cancer, turning his battle into a game of Dungeons and Dragons. In an imagined world, his cancer is an army of gargoyles with which, every night, they fight around a map they’ve drawn together.

Three years later, on the beach of their favourite seaside town, 13 year old Jack reluctantly scatters his ashes. His mum, Jane, has since remarried and hopes that in fulfilling Tom’s last request, Jack will start to come to terms with his loss and the move to a new house. But a violent storm that night serves only to reflect her son’s increasing anguish.

After the storm, Jack returns to the beach and along with the remains of a shipwreck, finds a few of his dad’s possessions scattered on the sand. This, he discovers, is their imagined world made real; a place in which his dad still lives – a prisoner of the gargoyles. Only by freeing him can Jack come to terms with his death in the real world. But will he be able to find him, while evading the gargoyles and others who wish him harm? And if he does, will he, at last, be able to say goodbye?

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