Banyan: A Short Novel by Cynthia A. Williams
Cynthia A. Williams
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“That summer lasted so long. The summer after Father killed himself. Hot, my God. We thought it would never end.”
With this deceptively listless complaint, we begin a journey into a psychological and paranormal mystery whose explanation is horrific.
It is 1959. Gerry and Clara Cuvier, a middle-aged brother and sister, live in seclusion in a once splendid house on the Caloosa River in southwest Florida. As a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico builds to hurricane force, Clara grows increasingly distressed over the bewildering emotions that accompany her confused memories of the dreaming time, and over her strange visions of houses she has never been in. Are the memories and visions only dreams, or are they the only reality, dimly remembered and tragically misinterpreted? If perception is reality, is not the dreamer inseparable from the dream?
Like the statue of Lorelei in her overgrown garden, “…a celestial being held captive by jungle vines, soft as sculpted moonlight, her dreaming face aglow under deep sea green,” Clara’s essence is captive to forces too illusive for her to grasp. It is, nevertheless, from her complex interplay of memory and illusion that the unspeakable and heartbreaking crime committed in this house finally emerges.
Cynthia A. Williams has thought it all through and decided that in her next life she is going to be a mechanical physicist in order to make time travel possible so that she can come back to this life and start over.
A lover of history and literature, Cynthia has been writing since the age of nine when she wrote a story about her Cocker Spaniel, Trouble--a story one paragraph long. Banyan is her first novel, but she has been writing professionally all her life--as a copywriter, copyeditor, freelance writer (narrative history), and currently as senior staff writer and editor for a Fortune 300 Company headquartered in Charlotte, NC. Cynthia has also completed a child's storybook and a screenplay for an animated film. The storybook, As Wrong As Wrong Can Be, is soon to be published; the film is looking for a film agent. In the works are a series of interrelated short stories comprising a book titled Houses and a screenplay for a feature film about a famous event in early Wyoming military history.
Born in Fayetteville, TN, Cynthia moved to Ft. Myers, FL, when she was six. Ft. Myers, specifically the Burroughs House in old Ft. Myers, is the setting for Banyan, in which Cynthia makes a cameo appearance as a child.
So, why would Cynthia want to start this life over? To fulfill the dream of this life, a dream too often interrupted--to live a free, impassioned and adventure-filled life as a writer, at home and abroad, to be able to say of her life, as Dom Perignon is reputed to have exclaimed when he invented champagne, "My God. I'm drinking stars."