Dulwich Northby Bill Douglas
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In psychiatric terminology, Apres-coup has an almost whimsical, euphemistic ring to it, concealing a sinister, traumatic condition, brought about by emotional shock, resulting in long term psychological damage. In severe cases, it might cause amnesia, a spontaneous loss of memory, or a repression of a single horrific experience into the subconscious mind.
DULWICH NORTH is a novel set against the background of a man's own bi-sexuality. His personal situation is dominated by a past infatuation with a mature student, which surfaces latterly, to threaten his nebulous marriage and his adoring relationship with his children.
It revisits significant experiences in the past life of Dr. Karl Cruddace, which are responsible for the repercussions of tragic events, played out in the twelve months of his life in 1979.
As a child born into the turbulent political world in which the ravages of war were displaced by international depression, resurgent nationalism and the complexities of abdication, Karl Cruddace witnesses the 'suicide' of his stepfather on the platform of North Dulwich station. The young boy becomes so traumatised, that the incident is banished to the furthest regions of recollection. Years later, seduced by the curious nature of the human mind, Dr Cruddace, headmaster and devoted father, relives the scene triggering a true relevation of his father's death with devastating, far-reaching consequences.
During the darkening period between the two world wars, an insidious monarchist cabal, the "Pavanist Order", re-emerges, intent on preserving the institution of monarchism, to rescue it from the abomination of abdication. As its zealous principle could only be sustained with the permanent removal of Wallis Simpson, (the mistress of the new king, Edward), Matthew Cruddace, a close confidant of Edward and step father of Karl volunteers for the task.
Failing to carry out the conspiracy, Matthew Cruddace returns from his assignment and is murdered in North Dulwich station...the incident witnessed by his young stepson, and eyes which would shadow his every move for the rest of his life.
Tragically, Karl's fateful return to the murderous scene, later in life, with its resurgence of suppressed memory, leads to a miscalculated calamity by the "Order", resulting in the annihilation of his family.
Initial suspicions wrongly point to an I.R.A. devised plot due to Irish connections in Karl Cruddace's past and he is subsequently used by MI6 as a bait to snare the real culprits.
In an effort to rebuild his life, with anguish and despair prevailing, he seeks seclusion in a small fishing village on the south east coast of Scotland, where the "Order" continues to monitor his movements through his gradual and fatal involvement with an appointed temptress.
Throughtout the story, Karl's agnosticism is tested , until full disclosure reveals how he and his family, had become tragic victims of circumstances beyond his control. Consequently, a final dramatic confrontation between Karl and omnipotence takes place, confirming his apostate convictions. Sensing the horror of the traumatic experiences and tribulations to be behind him, Karl comes to terms with existence, relative to his own future.
However, "dark forces" endure, in a dramatic climax.
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