We put a great deal of effort into promoting our new, recent and upcoming books but often our previous releases get sidelined.
In this latest series I am offering authors in the Cafe and Bookstore a chance to promote an earlier book by sharing an excerpt from the book of 500 words. This current series is now closed.
Today an excerpt from an award winning book with an interesting history, one that has only been revealed with the publication of the eBook version… The Gilded Beaver by Margaret Lindsay Holton
About the book
– What happens when an aspiring designer meets up with a big-wig financier? –
Winner of the Hamilton Literary Awards in 1999, ‘The Gilded Beaver by Anonymous’ has been updated in 2020 to reveal the author’s true identity.
Award-winning Canadian artist, Margaret Lindsay Holton explains, “I am free now from a decades-long agreement to hold-my-tongue until ‘one of us dies.’ The previously undisclosed client, ‘G’, passed on in March of this year in his 80th year. I can now claim this ‘story’ as my own.”
In this quasi-fictionalized account, Canadian fine furniture designer, Iris Ann Burdock, is introduced to one of Toronto’s financial-elite executives, Luke G. Henderson. He considers her, as well as a commission. The problem, for Iris, is that her recently-divorced client is moody and unpredictable. Iris must excavate his carefully-crafted façade to find the ‘real man’ in order to rise up to meet his design challenge. A witty and frustrating exchange erupts between them. Romantic sparks fly.
As the battle-of-wills escalates, Iris’s meticulous design efforts are contrast to her meandering solo sojourns to a 25-acre bush property in the backwoods of Muskoka. There, quiet reflection makes her question, again and again, what really matters …
Critical Reviews from 1999:
“ … like good wine – rich, complex, pleasingly acerbic … a dance of intellect & eros that expertly unfolds … and closes with panache.” – Jim Bartley, Globe & Mail, Toronto
“… a psycho-sexual tug of war in the world of design” – Spring Book Review, Globe & Mail, Toronto
“… Novels about the relationship between two brothers, mothers and sons, husbands and wives, or fathers and daughters are common. But the relationship between a fine furniture designer and an imperious client can be just as fraught with tension, drama, comedy, incomprehension and hurt as any family relationship, and this novel proves it. – Why the ‘anonymity’? Because, quotes the author, ‘This is a true story’… ” – The Toronto Star
An excerpt from the beginning of The Gilded Beaver
IMAGINE, dear reader, if you will, that we are in the year two-thousand-eight-hundred and ninety-seven. 2897 A.D.
We are watching an old man. His name is Wong. He is carefully removing the tattered remnants of decaying cloth from an ancient and fragile black walnut chair frame. As he gently brushes the dirt and grime from the backside of a brittle marquetry panel, an inscription is uncovered in a language that he does not know. Close by, there are two numbers beside each other, pencil written by two different hands. One is relatively recent, the other an ancient script.
1997 / 2336
Wong’s experienced fingers caress the smooth worn-out carving on the shafts of the weakened and cracked legs. He discovers that the once dramatic and voluptuous human figurines at mid-section are oddly without hands. He has never in his long years of restoration seen this kind of mythic imagery. One leg had been professionally pinned and well-repaired long ago. Wong quietly admires the subtle and skilful craftsmanship of his talented predecessor of 2336.
He stands back to study the piece. Puzzled.
Again, he examines the intricate marquetry panel. Once beautifully done, it shows a small mouse nibbling on a cherry seated on a burled wreath of pine cones beneath a sprig of mistletoe. Wong’s index finger thoughtfully touches the adjacent inlaid antler image, trying to understand. Some pieces of the original ebony stringing are now missing.
He looks again at the overall shape of the chair frame.
He curls his fingers around the knuckle on the armrest. It had originally been crisply carved by, and for, a delicate hand. But the overall size of the chair was uncommonly large. For a large man, he thought. But there was something being told by the taut stance of that back leg. And why was the wood hoof on the front cuffed with what seemed to be some kind of beaded bracelet? Again, he looks at the fading antler image, damaged by time through exposure to raw sunlight.
Slowly, ever so slowly, the long, lost mystery of Origin began to reveal itself to the aging Master’s Eye. This strange decorative art object was North American, late-twentieth century, of that he was certain. As for the rest of the intricate details of its engaging story, who had so artfully made it, and why, that, he regretfully knew he would never ever know.
He chuckled, returning to his work. Nature still managed to keep some of her creation secrets from the prying sharp eye of her attentive white-haired apprentice.
‘Think globally, act locally.’
“Saddle up sonny, it’s time to ride.”
Luke changed the channel.
“The TSE opened at 6840 today. Gold remains steady.”
Luke changed the channel.
The phone rang.
Luke zapped the tube off, and flipped open his cellular.
©Margaret Lindsay Holton The Gilded Beaver
One of the reviews for the book on Goodreads
I loved this story. Iris is an up scale Canadian furniture designer and lover of all things nature. Her newest client is an eccentric millionaire who is challenging her on every level. This is her chance to create a masterpiece in the form of 4 chairs which truly represent Canada, one for each season of the year. This will entail the work of many experts and take many months. At the same time, we also journey with Iris to her piece of wilderness in Northern Ontario with its deep forests , boulders. lakes and wild animals. It was the language of this book that spoke to my soul. It was a 3 dimensional rather than a 2 dimensional experience. it read like a deep meditation on the flow of life contrasting the rush of the urban world with the stillness of deep Canadian forests. This book explodes into multi dimensions. I felt immersed in life. If you love this land and everything about it, if you love the best use of language, if you love good craftsmanship this is the book for you.
A selection of books by Margaret Lindsay Holton
Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Read more reviews and follow Margaret: Goodreads – Facebook Author/Artist fan page – Margaret Lindsay Holton – Facebook – Trillium Novel – Twitter – @TrillLINDSAY
About Margaret “Lindsay” Holton extract from Wikipedia
Margaret Lindsay Holton is a Canadian artist primarily known for her ‘naive-surreal-folk-abstracts’ oil and acrylic paintings, pinhole photography, short documentary film productions, poetry and literary novel works.
Holton is the winner of the K.W. Irmisch ‘Arts Person of the Year’ Award in 2016 from the City of Burlington. In 2018, she received the Alumni of Influence award by University College, University of Toronto and was nominated for the Premier of Ontario Arts Award.
Holton studied English Literature at the University of Toronto, and produced her first written works in the 1980s. She began her first novel, Economic Sex, while working as an English tutor in Spain in 1984. This literary work was published by Coach House Press of Toronto, under pen-name, Ali Janna Whyte, in 1985.
She produced and edited ‘The Spirit of Toronto: 1934-1984′, a compendium of essays by religious leaders of 45 different faiths highlighting multiculturalism in Toronto. Launched at Fort York, a hard copy was presented to the Pope’s personal secretary.
Holton registered her artist’s press, Acorn Press Canada, in Ontario, in 1997. As a writing artist, she published her second novel, The Gilded Beaver by Anonymous, (1999), as well as two books of poetry, On Top of Mount Nemo (2002), and Bush Chord, (2006, with an e-edition in 2012) under her artists’ imprint. The Gilded Beaver by Anonymous novel won the Hamilton Arts Council ‘Best Fiction Award’ in 1999. Her third novel, and Finalist for the Hamilton Book Awards, TRILLIUM, was first released in October of 2018.’
Fine Furniture Design & Construction
Holton apprenticed with her father, the late Luther Janna Holton (1922-2002), cabinetmaker and sole-proprietor of Holton Fine Furniture of Hamilton before going into business for herself in 1986 as a Canadian fine furniture designer in Toronto under ‘MLH Productions’.
Her furniture works can be found in national public and international private collections, including the Royal Ontario Museum, (curio box & display cabinets), the Canadian Film Centre, (library reception), Stanley Ho of Hong Kong (bedroom & dining room suite), David C.W. MacDonald of Toronto (‘Temagami’ pedestals, ‘Wolf Settee Courting Bench’ & ‘Thee Mirror), Rosamond Ivey of Toronto (bedroom suite) and Elizabeth Hanson of Toronto (children beds).
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to explore this book and the others by Margaret Lindsay Holton…thanks Sally.