Last Train to Purgatory
Last Train centres around two main characters - best friends Nancy and Sam. The two friends are suburban teenagers that meet by chance as strangers and end up becoming inseperable. The novel documents the rise and fall of their relationships with eachother, family members and general society as they are excommunicated after becoming criminals.
The inspiration came from many crime movies and novels and the idea of a suicide pact between the girls came from the Japanese horror movie Suicide Club. The idea of a joint diary between the girls came from an idea from my sister who used to keep a joint diary with her best friend when she was younger.
Two middle class suburban teenagers with similar interests meet by chance on a train heading into the inner city. The two teenage girls both have few friends of their own and are seen as 'outcasts' in the schools that they go to. The girls realise they have a lot in common and become friends quickly. The two girls become even closer and soon become obsessed with each other and cut off all ties with other family members and friends. They begin by spending their days together in the city and soon hatch a plan to become part of a secret 'shoplifters society' and their lives descend into crime and cruelty. Once innocent teenagers who dreamed of being popular but instead were outcasts at school, the girls soon end up in deadly situations. They form a suicide pact and start to keep a joined diary, which is a symbol of their possesiveness over each other. Because of their joined diary, it makes it even more difficult for them to keep secrets from each other. The title 'Last Train to Purgatory' describes how if the girls commit suicide on the train tracks, they will undoubtedly be going to hell for their sins.
Aunt Hazel centres around two main characters - the main protagonist Misty French and her boyfriend Ross Tasker. The main outline of the novel is that Misty is in love with a heroin addict (Ross Tasker) who hides his addiction until it is too late. He references heroin as 'Aunt Hazel' in a bid to express his feelings about his 'love/hate relationship' with his 'aunt' without giving away the secretly completely. Written in the narrative from Misty's point of view, I have tried to create a novel where the reader knows of Ross's addictions whereas Misty does not. I try make this successful by including a series of diary entries by Ross that tell the tale of his addiction but the diaries are hidden from Misty's eyes.
Aunt Hazel centres around the life and love of Misty French, a seventeen year old girl from an unnamed city. Misty's life is far from perfect although she has little to complain about. She is famous for pushing away her friends and those she loves most and caring too much about people she can never have. Or at least she thinks she can never have them until she meets Ross Tasker, a mysterious boy who is intrigued by Misty's life. Misty is interesting to Ross because Ross understands that she is lonely and sad and wishes she was a better person although Misty has no real demons to battle. The real demons are Ross's. Ross is a young heroin addict, which he has kept a secret from everyone except his friends and family who have consequently disowned him. He has lost everyone he knows and loves and sees Misty as the perfect remedy and his new love is designed to take his mind off his affliction. He manages to keep his addiction a secret from Misty, however he feels guilty and it is a burden on his mind. Therefore, he thinks up a plan to tell his life story of his tragic relationship with his 'Aunt Hazel' (a slang term for heroin). Misty thinks he is speaking about a family member of whom was a bad influence on him, thus why he was excommunicated from the rest of his family. Misty does not learn of Ross's addiction until towards the end of the novel when she sees the symptoms and that his body has come to ruin. She finds his diaries, of which some extracts are included throughout the novel, not to the knowledge of Misty. This is so the reader knows of Ross's addiction but it is still a secret kept from Misty. Misty also keeps a diary and writes letters to her sister who lives in London, of whom we find out by the end of the novel actually died in a car accident during the first month of her moving to the city. Misty does not know this, so continues to write letters to her sister even though she never receives a reply. It is a source of comfort to Misty to know that her letters are being read and her problems understood.
Misty French- Misty is the narrator and the protagonist of the story who's outlook on life isn't a very good one. She is lonely and making herself ill by isolating herself from others. She seeks to better herself as a person but does not know how. She meets Ross, who turns her life around for better and for worse.
Ross Tasker - Ross is Misty's love interest and for the most part the story is centred around him and his relationships with Misty and heroin, the latter which he commonly refers to as his 'aunt Hazel'. He has many good points which include being able to play piano, having a soft singing voice, being polite, kind and romantic.
Misty's mother - Known simply as 'mother' and 'mum', Misty's mother cares deeply for her daughter but is dealing with a messy divorce from her husband/Misty's father. Misty's father however receives little mention in the story.
Pasha French - Pasha French is Misty's sister who moved to London when she was 21 and hasn't been heard of since. Misty writes Pasha letters often, letting out her frustration and anger and seeking advice. However although she receives none, she continues to send the letters to make herself feel better. Little does she know that her sister died in a car accident.
Mrs Peterson - Mrs Peterson was Misty's therapist, albeit for a short time. More is revealed about her throughout the story and the speech she made before her sudden death affects Misty's life enormously.
Aunt Hazel is a transgressive novel which mainly deals with the issue of serious drug addiction to Class A substances as well as self-harm, mental illness, loneliness and isolation. It gives off the feeling that one must be loved by others to feel happy but even then unhappiness creeps back in.
Untitled (Jamaican Story)
At the moment the plot is a secret, but you can guess what it's about by reading about the characters below!
Quanesha Gayle - the mother. She is very caring to her children and often strict. She was raped in the past by a priest on the island, near her hometown of Kingston when she was just a little girl. This means she is very wary of men, and very afraid of what her son will become.
Shandrel Gayle - the father. He rarely makes an appearance in the story. He is described as 'a rich man in a tight business suit' who lives in Beverley Hills. He met Quanesha when she was only a young girl living on the island. They married but she left him after he fell in love with her sister, Jalissa.
Jalissa Bailey - the aunty. She has never been able to find her way back into the family after the short 'affair' with Quanesha's ex husband, Shandrel. She is a nasty woman who is very horrible to her younger sister.
Kai Gayle - the son. He is a kind and loving boy but often mixes with the riff raff and gets in with the wrong crowd. It has taken years for him to become the person he is today. His mother has taught him to be a kind gentleman, but he wants to go against his family's wishes and become a rude boy rasta.
Nikkya Gayle - the daughter. She is younger than her brother and very naive. She cares about her family but gets led on by a priest on the island, Father Delonn Green - the same priest that raped her mother years before.
Tawanda Bailey - the cousin. The family is often described as 'inbred' when people hear that Shandrel got Jalissa pregnant. This led to the birth of Tawanda who was drowned in Mona Lake aged just six months old.
Shawnte Wright - the best friend of Kai, Shawnte is the best friend who fancies Nikkya, but of course he'd never tell Kai. Shawnte doesn't have a good relationship with his family, he squats in the upstairs of a drug store in Kingston.
Booker Allen - Booker is the owner of the drug store and has a good relationship with Shawnte. They go way back as Booker used to teach Shawnte karate when he was younger. Now that Shawnte has been disowned by his family, Booker is keen to help out and lend him a hand.
Smokey Allen - Smokey is the son of Booker, who Nikkya has her eye on. Booker is always keen to tell stories about his son, but they are not necessarily good stories. Kai knows of Nikkya's lust for Smokey, but warns Smokey if he steps anywhere near Nikkya that he'll have his head.
Amarika Wright - the best friend of Nikkya, Amarika is a funny girl who stumbles over her own feet and is the sister of Shawnte. She still lives with her family far away in Sooky Gal but often comes to visit Shawnte, against her parent's wishes. Nikkya knows Amarika because they go to school together in Wolmers Girls High School.
Kaylee White - a rastafarian girl who Nikkya looks up to, she is her rock. Kai is in love with her but she refuses to return his affections - teasing him instead. She is sent down for murder of her albino brother and eventually commits suicide whilst in prison, with the help of Nikkya.
Father Delonn Green - the priest who raped Quanesha Gayle when she was only sixteen but has never been prosecuted and is still living on the island has his eye on Nikkya.
Father Evander Lawrence - the friendly priest who befriends Kai and the Gayle family.