publications - fiction
What the World Owes me by Mary Bowes
Mary, poor girl, has lost her tongue completely after what happened in the 'Off Beat' and the 'Portisano', two Soho clubs; and before she finds it again we discover what happened to her, not only in the murkier by-ways of Soho, but also in the Blitz, when she was born, in North Wales, where she was an inmate of an infants' home, and in South Africa where she really grew up. Most people will feel that the world owes Mary Bowes more readings than one.
Available as a print copy (see left) and as an ebook click here.
A taste of the critics
'Stein has a humour that is halfway between a poet's and a clown's' TLS
'Written with clarity and zest… [Mary Bowes] is in some sort of National Health institution after a breakdown and the chapters alternate her own account of recent events with the author's more extended background history of how she was born and raised. Both stories, moving along together in counterpoint are funny as well as sad, and at the end, with a little surprise in the manner of William Golding, join up.' John Bowen, Time and Tide
Read how Mary Bowes came to be written from Sylvester's autobiography:
My mind was working at a semi-psychic level...... One wintry night I half awoke at about 2.30 in the morning with a long dream in my head, a complete and original narrative. It was a satire on racialism - the love story of a young couple who looked like modern-day centaurs, but instead of their head and shoulders growing at the end of a horse's body, it was joined to a machine, in fact a moped. They fed not on hay but on petrol from the pumps, though only heaven knows how they managed their other unmentionable bodily functions, not to speak of sex. However they were very sweet and loving, very fetching, and by the end of their extraordinary exploits they lived happily ever after…
I thought I must remember this story, it's a ready-made work of fiction for my publishers. But I said scornfully to myself, you know, you sloth, it will all fade away by morning - if you don't get off your backside and write it down now. Into the cold, cold basement I descended and sat at my typewriter while I disgorged the first chapter.
I was enchanted, and chuckled at the thought of the suspenseful story to follow, still in my head. The warm bed appealed though - now I've got so far, I told myself manipulatively, I can safely leave the rest to morning...... . Deserting the post, I was duly sentenced to be shot at dawn, for I never managed it, because of course after breakfast I had no time, I had this date with the News Chronicle and nothing emerged from my memory when I did at length get back to my typewriter.
For anyone who wants to read that first chapter however and work out an ending to the story for themselves go to my third novel, What the World Owes me by Mary Bowes. This girl Mary was an ex-South African, an artist, a wayward beauty. In the middle of the book I dropped in a chapter in her own eccentric style: it was the Moped Lovers. An apt intrusion (and jolly economical of literary effort).
I Danced With Mrs Gandhi