Archive for December, 2013

Peter O’Toole remembered by Lawrence of Arabia assistant director Ibrahim Fawal

Friday, December 20th, 2013 by Brian Seidman

The Disinherited by Ibrahim FawalAuthor Ibrahim Fawal (On the Hills of God, The Disinherited), born in Ramallah, Palestine, worked with renowned director David Lean as the “Jordanian” first assistant director on the classic Lawrence of Arabia. He sent this remembrance of actor Peter O’Toole, who died this past month.

I am proud to say that I had a very friendly relationship with Peter O’Toole when I was working as the first assistant director on Lawrence of Arabia in the Jordanian desert in 1961. In fact, he and Omar Sharif promised to dance at my wedding, which was to take place right after production of the movie ended. Due to unforeseen circumstances and a delayed production schedule, they missed my wedding, but that did not prevent big crowds from jamming the streets and the church, expecting the two stars to be in attendance.

One of my most vivid memories of working with Peter O’Toole took place early one morning, when David Lean asked me to go find Peter, who was late for the shooting of a certain scene. When I found Peter, he was in his luxurious tent, getting dressed. I urged him to hurry up, as we were late for the first morning shot. As we walked out of the tent, into the desert, with the blue sky and miles and miles of utter tranquility around us, he was still buttoning his shirt. Suddenly, he stopped walking, and the next thing I knew he was raising his hands up toward the sky, shouting “Hey God, where are you?” Stunned by the sudden outburst, I asked what he was doing, but he kept looking up, repeating, “Where is He? Where is He?” It was a powerful moment, one that stayed in my subconscious for more than 40 years. It was later included as a scene in my book, The Disinherited.

What a magnificent opportunity to work with a legend like Peter O’Toole. Now he’s with his elusive God, at last.

The PEN Oakland award-winning On the Hills of God and its sequel The Disinherited, by Ibrhaim Fawal, are available in hardcover and ebook from your favorite bookstore.

Faulkner comparisons abound in Sailing to Alluvium reviews

Friday, December 6th, 2013 by Brian Seidman

Sailing to Alluvium by John PritchardAuthor John Pritchard’s newest “southern redneck tour-de-force,” Sailing to Alluvium, continues to entertain and maybe offend (just a little) with a bevy of great local and national reviews.

Chapter 16, the online publication of Humanities Tenneseee, writes that Sailing to Alluvium “is, in the end, a biting study of class differences, every bit as profane as the plays of Aristophanes” and “every gotdamn bit as funny,” as Pritchard’s inimitable narrator Junior Ray would say. Sailing to Alluvium follows Pritchard’s earlier books, Junior Ray and The Yazoo Blues, each of which explored deputy sheriff Junior Ray’s mis-adventures in the Mississippi Delta.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal highlighted John Pritchard’s significant book tour in celebration of Sailing to Alluvium, which continues is 2014 with appearances in Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Louisiana, Missouri, and Kentucky (see full schedule). (About his book tour, Pritchard quipped to the Memphis Flyer‘s Leonard Gill, “I can’t say enough wonderful things about [my publisher]. They work like I don’t know what. But, God, this book tour … they’ve got a list longer than a night in jail!”)

The Appeal‘s Peggy Burch interviewed Pritchard, who happily proclaimed that “his new book is ‘just a beautiful book, just a whangdoodle of a book. … I slept with it last night.'” Burch calls Pritchard “the kind of raconteur who makes easy reference in conversation to characters such as his late Aunt Peekyboo. Thursday he remembered that this aunt once heard from her friend Estelle, who was married to William Faulkner, that,” Pritchard said, “Bill wanted to write a book that he could get banned in Boston. That’s what I want.”

Brooks Taylor of the Tunica Times makes the Faulkner comparison, too — “Undertaking a review of this third book in the series, Sailing to Alluvium, I have progressed to the very position in which William Faulkner’s critics must have found themselves: how to parse a work of literature and a body of work that seems destined to add the author to the pantheon of greats in Southern literature.” — as does Janine Stinson of ForeWord Reviews: “Those who enjoy dark humor, persnickety personality, and tales of human frailty should enjoy this novel. Pritchard has brought the Delta to life in the character of Junior Ray with a masterful, fluid, and experienced hand. William Faulkner would be proud.”

Book Page also chose Sailing to Alluvium for one of their “What We’re Reading” features, praising Pritchard’s “distinctive vernacular writing style.”

As Pritchard notes in the YouTube trailer for Sailing to Alluvium, “As my Uncle Jack would say, you can’t raise children in a small community without a copy of Junior Ray to point to as a horrible example.” All three books in the “Junior Ray” saga — Junior Ray, The Yazoo Blues, and Sailing to Alluvium — are now available in print and ebook formats from NewSouth Books.