Tag Archive > Martin Pevsner

The Red Ants: The Evolution of a Novel

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Martin PevsnerCurious Book Fans are grateful to author Martin Pevsner for revealing to our readers the creative process and the background of his second novel The Red Ants.

This last twelve months have been a time of great change for me. After fourteen years teaching English language at a local further education college in Oxford, mainly to asylum seekers and refugees, I quit my job. I found a new one a few weeks later. For the first time since graduating over twenty-five years ago I have found employment in a non-teaching capacity. It feels very liberating.

Equally exciting, I had my first book published this time last year, a novel called Divinity Road (Signal Books), set mainly in Oxford and Africa, that sought to describe the vulnerability of life as an asylum seeker (see review here). Needless to say much of the inspiration for the novel came from my relationships with students over the years.


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The Red Ants – Prologue

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©Martin Pevsner 2011

You wake though you can’t remember sleeping, one moment you’re hunched between lawnmower and wheelbarrow, sideways prone on damp shed floor, strands of dried grass clinging to your cheek, shivering cold in midnight hour. Then next you’re jerked alive, scrabbling to your feet, peering through smeary window at the pale dawn.

Someone’s lying in the garden no more than ten feet away. You peer more closely. The back is to you but the shape looks female. You are pretty sure she wasn’t there last night. You wonder if she could be asleep, imagine her stirring, sitting up, yawning. But you know it’s unlikely.

You stand for a few moments, your ear tuning in for sounds. At your feet lies the canvas bag filled with ipod and penknife, a few scrabbled clothes, your phone and the trumpet. You stand stock still straining to hear but the silence is eerie, no more screams of the hunted, no more back-and-forth calls of the huntsmen.


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Q&A with Martin Pevsner

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Martin PevsnerMartin Pevsner recently published his first novel, Divinity Road. Our reviewer praised him as “a writer to put on your watch list if this multi-dimensional tour de force is anything to go by”. koshkha was curious to learn more about stories and thoughts behind the book.
Martin lives and works in Oxford but has spent time in Cameroon, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

CBF: I chose the book because I recognised the reference to the road where part of the story is set. I’d guess that’s not why you chose it though. What was the thinking behind the name?

Martin Pevsner: I had a different name for the novel originally – Companions of the Garden – a reference to the Qur’an. An agent told me people browsing in a bookshop would presume it was a gardening book.

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Divinity Road

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Divinity Road By Martin Pevsner, book reviewIn an unnamed but hostile African country Greg wakes up to find himself the only survivor of a plane crash caused by a terrorist attack. When a jeep arrives he’s shocked to discover that far from trying to rescue him, the men are intent on looting everything worth having, smashing gold teeth from the mouths of dead men and releasing their lust on the still warm body of a dead woman victim. It’s clear that rescue is not top of their priorities.

In Ethiopia a young Eritrean taxi driver falls in love with a local girl and against all odds she leaves her Christian family, converts to Islam and follows him back to Eritrea.


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