PART I Ghost town arrival: spotlight with Alaia: 1 A funny turn at the office, 2 The hunt for what my eyes can do, 3 So now I'm on a mission, 4 Sneak peek into a mogul's mind, 5 How to slap a mogul around, 6 My absent default personality, 7 Telling Alaia what's hard to believe, 8 The statue of black sugar, 9 Alaia gets excited, 10 Angles of glamour, 11 Lunch with a shark, 12 Relentless wakefulness in the belfry, 13 The silver van to the ghost town, 14 The smashed violin, 15 Evelyn's tour of the ghost town, 16 Ready for our close-up, 17 "Sound & Vision". PART II Sunday late: afterglow with Alaia: 18 The warm dome of smile, 19 Flames, Lucan, Kev, 20 Paranoia by the wire-netting fence, 21 Angel's wings in the dive-bar, 22 No enchantment without ordeal, 23 A declaration of war against Lucan, 24 On the sky, that face, 25 The figure in the crowd in the mirror, 26 Shigem and I on the dance-floor, 27 A devoted fan of Alaia and me, 28 Wet green eyes of Pippa in the take-away, 29 Flight from Arverne, 30 The small black toothbrush. PART III Monday: Alaia learns my subterfuge: 31 We'll all adore you, 32 Evelyn picks imaginations to thieve, 33 Theft one, and how to be ignored, 34 "Big Bang": song of death, 35 Cheap champagne at Evelyn's, 36 Kim's dead suburbia, 37 Flash of weasel eyes through the keyhole, 38 Kim's amber days, 39 Your painted face alive and smiling, 40 Alaia gives me a grilling, 41 It's only a shell, 42 The last music Kim heard before Shigem, 43 Malaysian chilli peppers, 44 The five times I hypnotised someone, 45 A declaration of war against Kev, 46 Another furtive escape, 47 Pippa goes to greet a gentleman caller, 48 Does Lucan hate Shigem?, 49 Theft two, and nattering about bikinis, 50 Unnerving things in Pippa's bedroom. PART IV Tuesday: Alaia acts too hastily: 51 Evelyn's fling with Flames, 52 Morning picnic with vodka and burning tyres, 53 The meaning of a spotlight, 54 "Big Bang": return of the giant ship, 55 A sighting of the weasel, 56 Lucan's and Angel's sumptuous fight, 57 How Kim met Shigem, 58 How Shigem met Kim, 59 Theft three, and Alaia lands Angel in the shit, 60 Rik's and Evelyn's genius at hang-outs. PART V Wednesday: I learn Alaia's subterfuge: 61 Alaia bites the bullet and calls Lucan, 62 Pleasure to be you, 63 I puzzle out Alaia's subterfuge, 64 "Big Bang": run to the sun, 65 Home in a nowhere town, 66 Rain on corrugated iron, 67 Overheard through the corn-chips, 68 Movements through the wall. PART VI Thursday: second spotlight with Alaia: 69 Alaia fakes for two audiences at once, 70 Coldness on the beach, 71 Alaia swirls in decreasing circles, 72 The weasel at the window, 73 A naked Angel on the front path, 74 Golden on the beach for the last time, 75 Attitude on the phone, 76 The pussy-cats lost in translation, 77 Snatching the divine on the corner of the street, 78 Theft four, and Alaia extricates herself, 79 High voltage for Angel, 80 Who could ask for more?, 81 A farcical audition for Rik, 82 The Supreme Ruler and her space-cat, 83 Low-budget snarls in the nightclub. PART VII Friday: Alaia receding: 84 Angel tries to use me, 85 Lucan spreads poison in the morning, 86 Stared at on an empty beach, 87 Fixing the weasel hunt, 88 An interrupted drama and a dubious portent, 89 Hunting the weasel, 90 Pippa on the brink of no return, 91 My lies about the Mint Man, 92 Alaia slithers out of Lucan's grip, 93 Angel's Baby Doll, 94 Theft five, with suicide and soup-of-the-day. PART VIII Saturday: Alaia in hiding: 95 Spanish baboons and tiny creatures, 96 An inferior decapitation gesture, 97 Lucan and Angel on the big screen, 98 Porch-geese and Vietnam, 99 Pippa a zombie through internal damage, 100 Evelyn's dance, with minimal effect, 101 Desire as disease in Angel Deon, 102 Shigem's unimprovable situation, 103 Theft six, with ambiguous bowing and curtseying. PART IX Sunday: the angel on the carcass-building: 104 Violence in the air, 105 The trolls in the warehouse, 106 A gunfight and a snippety exchange, 107 Flicker of murder in Angel, 108 I'll never see your eyes again, 109 A screech of tyres, 110 What it's like to die by gunshot, 111 What it's like to die by shriek, 112 Stealing evidence from the crime scene, 113 How to bungle an assault, 114 Alaia and I are kidnapped, 115 Shrieking eyes in the ghost town. PART X Ghost town departure: love and pain: 116 Revelation in the breakfast room, 117 That narrow door, 118 The feet beneath the sheet, 119 Savagery, mystery, death and confinement, 120 A ring, two spires and a wedding gift.
Rohan Quine is an author of literary fiction with a touch of magical realism and a dusting of horror. He grew up in South London, spent a couple of years in L.A. and then a decade in New York, where he ran around excitably, saying a few well-chosen words in various feature films and TV shows, such as "Zoolander", "Election", "Oz", "Third Watch", "100 Centre Street", "The Last Days of Disco", "The Basketball Diaries", "Spin City" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (see www.rohanquine.com/those-new-york-nineties/film-tv). He's now living back in East London, as an Imagination Thief. In addition to its paperback format, his novel THE IMAGINATION THIEF is available as an ebook that contains links to film and audio and photographic content in conjunction with the text. See www.rohanquine.com/press-media/the-imagination-thief-reviews-media for some nice reviews in "The Guardian", "Bookmuse", "indieBerlin" and elsewhere. It's about a web of secrets triggered by the stealing and copying of people's imaginations and memories, the magic that can be conjured by images of people, the split between beauty and happiness, and the allure of power. Four novellas - THE PLATINUM RAVEN, THE HOST IN THE ATTIC, APRICOT EYES and HALLUCINATION IN HONG KONG - are published as separate ebooks, and also as a single paperback THE PLATINUM RAVEN AND OTHER NOVELLAS. See www.rohanquine.com/press-media/the-novellas-reviews-media for reviews of these novellas, including by Iris Murdoch, James Purdy, "Lambda Book Report" and "New York Press". Hunting as a pack, all four delve deep into the beauty, darkness and mirth of this predicament called life, where we seem to have been dropped without sufficient consultation ahead of time. His new novel THE BEASTS OF ELECTRA DRIVE is a prequel to the above five tales, and a great place to start. See www.rohanquine.com/press-media/the-beasts-of-electra-drive-reviews-media for reviews by "Kirkus", "Bookmuse", "Bending the Bookshelf" and others. From Hollywood mansions to South Central motels, havoc and love are wrought across a mythic L.A., through the creations of games designer Jaymi, in a unique explosion of glamour and beauty, horror and enchantment, celebrating the magic of creativity itself. www.rohanquine.com | facebook.com/RohanQuineTheImaginationThief | @RohanQuine | vimeo.com/rohanquine "Rohan Quine is one of the most original voices in the literary world today - and one of the most brilliant." -"Guardian" Books blogger Dan Holloway "The swooping eloquence of this book had me hypnotised. Quine leaps into pools of imagery, delighting in what words can do. The fact that the reader is lured into joining this kaleidoscopic, elemental ballet marks this out as something fresh and unusual. In addition to the language, two other elements make their mark. The seaside ghost town with echoes of the past and the absorbing, varied and rich cast of characters. It's a story with a concept, place and people you'll find hard to leave." -JJ Marsh, "Bookmuse" "Quine is renowned for his rich, inventive and original prose, and he is skilled at blending contemporary and ancient icons and themes." -Debbie Young, "Vine Leaves Literary Journal"
"Rohan Quine is one of the most brilliant and original writers around. His `The Imagination Thief' blended written and spoken word and visuals to create one of the most haunting and complex explorations of the dark corners of the soul you will ever read. Never one to do something simple when something more complex can build up the layers more beautifully [...] suffice to say he is the consummate master of sentencecraft. His prose is a warming sea on which to float and luxuriate. But that is only half of the picture. He has a remarkable insight into the human psyche, and he demonstrates it by lacquering layer on layer of subtle observation and nuance. Allow yourself to slip from the slick surface of the water and you will soon find yourself tangled in a very deep and disturbing world, but the dangers that lurk beneath the surface are so enticing, so intoxicating it is impossible to resist their call." "'The Imagination Thief' is one of those books that has originality stamped across it with a pair of size 12 DMs. An incredibly dark yet full and balanced with shafts of light picaresque through the recesses of the human psyche, it is an uncomfortable, troubling immersive experience that mixes text, audio and video taking us into places we would rather not go. It could be described as a cubist novel, taking each aspect of the torn mind and laying them out on separate planes through the different media." "Rohan is one of the most original voices in the literary world today - and one of the most brilliant." - Dan Holloway, novelist, poet and "Guardian" blogger "Another difficult to classify book, but that's precisely why it works so well. Part literary fiction, part fantasy, it is a surreal experience which makes the most of its equally offbeat location. With a cast of unforgettable characters and a central premise both intriguing and epic [...]. [...] In Asbury Park, New Jersey, an abandoned holiday resort, preparations for the strangest and biggest show on earth continue. They encounter an eclectic bunch of characters; lovers, enemies, slaves and masters, all of whom provide Jaymi with a wealth of material. But information is power, and more than one person wants access. The swooping eloquence of this book had me hypnotised. Quine leaps into pools of imagery, delighting in what words can do. The fact that the reader is lured into joining this kaleidoscopic, elemental ballet marks this out as something fresh and unusual. In addition to the language, two other elements make their mark. The seaside ghost town with echoes of the past and the absorbing, varied and rich cast of characters. It's a story with a concept, place and people you'll find hard to leave." - JJ Marsh, novelist, writing in "Bookmuse" "An intriguing book that addresses many big issues (love, sex, death, power, the nature and reliability of human memory, history, culture, human potential, the constraints of 21st century society, and more) [...]. The contrasting settings of busy, businesslike Manhattan and the ghost town of a nearby decaying seaside resort are only the backdrop to huge flights of fancy into the minds of the characters, explored by the newly psychic hero Jaymi. As he delves into their memories, sights and sounds from all over the world - real and imagined - spill forth, from war-torn Vietnam to idyllic classical gardens, beneath the oceans and into outer space. All of these experiences are described with a larger-than-life intensity that put me strangely in mind of Coleridge's `Kubla Khan' - and occasionally its drug-induced origins too! It's not an easy or comfortable read, particularly when closely examining mental and physical cruelty and violence between some of the characters. I read with a constant sense of foreboding. However even the most shocking passages are underpinned by the compassion, pity and tenderness of the narrator for all but the most brutal characters. There's also some very welcome, very British understated humour to offset some of the horror. The brevity of the `mini-chapters' was well-judged - I felt I needed to come up for air after some of the short episodes, and to assimilate the latest action before moving on. The immediacy of the story is more keenly felt because it is written in the present tense - always more demanding on the reader, I find, and even more so in this case because although most is in the first person, there are also many second-person narratives, where Jaymi is reading the minds of other characters and addressing them: `You move closer...' That the author is able to keep the reader not only engaged but tantalised by this difficult mode of storytelling indicates the power of his prose. Though it's very much a modern book, with the constraints of modern life as one of its themes, there are touches of the classic about it too, reminding this reader of Johnson's `Rasselas' [...]. As I turned the pages, I found myself puzzling how on earth this intense tale would end. Without spoiling the plot, I can say I found the conclusion surprising, redemptive and satisfying. [...] So, here we have not so much an imagination thief, but, to the reader, an imagination expander. Great stuff - thank you, Rohan Quine." - Debbie Young, novelist and Amazon UK Top 1,000 Reviewer "Novelist Rohan Quine not only has several books out. He also has a career in alternative modeling and film to look back on. Naturally, he has gone on to make a series of silent short films to go with an audio track of the author reading from his work. It's flooded with city lights, drugs and darkness. One foot in the New York Nineties, and one foot in today's London, it's both hypnotic and gut-churning." - Polly Trope, novelist, writing in "indieBerlin" "To love some of these characters would be to doom yourself, you are simply asked to observe them; to see them as deeply, as thoroughly as you see yourself, such is the all-encompassing clarity of Quine's descriptive abilities. These characters are not mere sketches; they are Rembrandts [...]. [...] Rather than a violation, Jaymi's reading of this motley crew of players is performed with a tenderness and an unending respect for the spectacle of another's soul in its entirety laid bare to us. There is magic in the twisted minds as well as in the sublime. [...] the decadently rich language of this novel makes it pure chocolate, wine and sex - you will need a cigarette as you turn the last page. This book reads like a musical. The words are liquid and melodic: always entrancing and encaptivating and rising to chorus-line lung-busting crescendos every time Jaymi unleashes his powers and the imaginations of his superbly diverse cast shine out of the page in an explosion of Sound and Vision. Given that he accomplishes this purveyance of the innermost soul with black words on a white page, what is indeed impressive is the sheer level of colour, smell, texture and heat that can be felt during these moments when we are invited to couple our minds with theirs. As I have stated, this is a piece where the English language is flexed and stretched until it's sweating on the floor in its yoga pants, and yet there are plenty of examples throughout to demonstrate Quine's skill in summing up the state of a character in a few simple words. [...] [...] there are other characters too, such as Evelyn and Rik, who are able to find light and love in their lives in the same way that Shigem and Kim have, and the warmth and tenderness of these characters serves to further illustrate that in contrast Angel is unable to escape the darkness, and by the time we meet him he has already been consumed by it. If Shigem and Kim, Evelyn and Rik are our redemption stories, there can be no doubt that the cautionary tale of Angel Deon is one of utter damnation. [...] Jaymi is our guide through this world; he is the smoke that furls through the brains of our donor-imaginations, igniting each nerve centre as he rises. [...] Despite Jaymi's authority as our narrator, the English language is the true star of this trans-corporeal, trans-reality, trans-possibility, trans-mindf*$k, all-transcending diva of a debut." - Jen McFaul, author "a dynamic that renders [narrator Jaymi] thrillingly amoral and makes this ambitious and unusual novel wholly unpredictable. [...] he finds he can explore not only the real memories of his new friends but their fantasies as well. These sequences are incredibly powerful, richly poetic and unique. Rohan Quine is a very insightful writer, with an understanding and empathy that anchor these hyper-eroticised, often surreal flights in a comprehensible reality. There is, if anything, an embarrassment of riches here but that's a minor consideration. As a reader, you wonder what Jaymi would make of you, whether he would find you as interesting as the terrifying but beguiling gangster Lucan or his demented lover, Angel. Angel, out of his mind on drugs, female hormones and desire that seems to claw out of the page at you, is the exact opposite of the coolly aloof Jaymi [...]. The freewheeling structure allows the author to dip in and out of different narratives and styles, worlds and fantasies. It also enables him to explore multiple genres, often within the same sequence. [...] Despite the original structure, however, events do build to a tragic climax whose only predictability is that it is fittingly strange. I often like to mention other similar books as a `way in' for review readers but there is nothing else like this novel and that is my best recommendation." - Andrew Wallace, novelist "It feels like something that will win major awards... I look forward to gritting my teeth and applauding loudly at next year's Booker." - Meg Davis, literary agent (Ki Agency) "Rohan is a dazzling writer [...] 21st century Beat Generation dreamweaver!" - Peter Godwin "I finished `The Imagination Thief' late last night, and found it ... many things, I suppose, but I know they add up to `deeply overwhelming'. It took my own imagination prisoner for a long while, and I cannot think of a better accolade for a true novel. I can't recall the details of any earlier version (which is why I've been able to read this as from zero), nor can I find an earlier copy anywhere, but I don't remember that the older version ended the same as this - has it changed? Because now, I read the last few pages - the van trip back to NY - as completely new to me, and I thought you have wonderfully created a quite unforgettably convincingly-constructed exit for the reader from this (again, overwhelming) experience." - Dr Michael Halls "quite brilliantly written. I have now read it twice and think it is full of amazing descriptions - especially those detailing the backgrounds of the various characters as divined by Jaymi in his magic insights. I am not on the whole a fan of magic realism, if one is to call it that, but your prose is so lyrical and beautiful that I felt quite seduced by it. The same applies to your dialogue which is richly colloquial. I am sure that the writing alone will arouse the admiration of the discriminating reading public." - Jeremy Trafford, novelist "fiery work. How rollickingly it proceeds down to its last bloodily beautiful drop." - Willie Coakley, poet "This book packs many powerful items of weaponry behind the smooth flow of its surface, few of which are suitable for unsupervised children and many of which are downright dangerous even for adults. Whether exulting in the human imagination's most ecstatic heights, scraping its terrifying cellars, lightly conjuring its gentlest loneliness or rattling out its most raucous joys, `The Imagination Thief's' language is fiercely vivid and polished, always fluid and precise, and very often explosively rich and rhythmic. Despite including lots of very natural and colloquial dialogue, the novel as a whole demands your focus; but it repays that focus ten-fold, with a ferocious and sensual dose of imaginative intensity and inventiveness that would be quite sufficient to fill at least two or three more normal/responsible/house-trained novels. Genuinely unlike anything else you'll have read, `The Imagination Thief' will take you places you have never been, it will slap you around with a dark and mirthful love that you're not expecting, and it will leave you richer." - Cradeaux Alexander