Adriano Bulla’s The Road to London

January 31, 2014

To say this is a gay novel is like saying that the Bible is for Jews.  I mentioned this debut novel yesterday but the more I think about it and re-read parts, the more I want to talk about it because it’s so unusual and so good.  I’ve just finished Ken Follet’s latest doorstop which was entertaining but quite forgettable..  Ade Bulla’s little novel (only 154 pages) simply cannot be forgotten.  For the record it’s at

It is a tale of his journey to become the person he didn’t want to be and to be happy about it. At times a colloquial narrative and, at others, heroically poetic, it is a tale of a soul adrift on a sea of adolescent uncertainty, honest, quirky but accessible. The swings in style are marked by the same structure in each chapter but they are a bit like Picasso or Stravinsky – you’re constantly taken by surprise and find yourself enjoying the ride. The descriptive writing and dreamlike sequences are beautiful and his metaphors are original, unusual and so effective that you go back to absorb them again.

I think that anyone who writes should read this book that is both refreshing and dense.  The use of the English language as a paintbrush for ideas is exceptional, even more so when you know that Ade is actually Italian.  I was blown over.

Here are a couple of snippets to give you a taste:

I felt Michael lift me by the hand. I felt my friends’ eyes on us, I was proud. The Moon on us like a celestial spotlight, we rose like swans to meet the light. I felt my Mum, my Dad, Pat, the youth and their parents, the grey souls, the world, I felt their eyes on us, and I was proud. ‘Let’s run,’ he said, ‘let’s run.’ We turned to the silver light, ‘Go!’ Run, run. Run like the wind, run. Run to the end of the land, run to the sea, run to meet the rainbow, where it kisses the horizon. Run with the clouds, run, run to the sky. Yes, run!’ Hand in hand, we ran. Faster and faster to the top of the hill. Hearts beating faster, our faces drowned in the Moon. Like swans we rose, David and Daniel watching us. We ran, we ran. We ran past the glistening stage, ran past our friends, ran past our lives. Hand in hand, our steps quickened, the wind behind us, we ran to the west, where the land meets the sky, we ran into the light and yes: I could fly!
Where the land meets the sky, where the wind breathes warmer, closer to the stars, on the summit, I could see it all. Hand in hand, we saw the glittering fountain down to the left, and its million bright inhabitants. David and Daniel, like stars looking up to us, the vast marquee alive with youths and music spread behind them. The grey city moaned breathlessly to the right, asphyxiating dreams. Trees behind us spoke to the wind, the light of the night fell down on us, sky meeting land, light meeting darkness. Ahead of us, in the warm breeze, only light. We fell on the ground. The grass was soft. Drowned in the summer light, we hugged. I heaved. His hand in mine, I felt Michael’s foot rub my leg. From the back of the universe a spark crossed his eyes and drowned in my heart. His face was pale, his hair dark. Time stopped. The world watched. In the light of the Moon, his lips parted, mine answered. I yielded. Wind and wave, sky and land, it was all light. Our heads closed; we kissed.
Thunder strikes; the grey city shakes. Scolding the grey metropolis, thunder strikes, low, remote like a lost lament. Thunder strikes; the fierce wind sweeps the long grey avenues that lead nowhere, scraping the walls, chasing the smog into the ground. Thunder strikes; the land cowers. Steady, monotonous, the gale pillages the pavements, upsets the grey asphalt, knocks on the doors of the grey blocks. Thunder strikes; grey factories and office blocks shrink and hide. Hail, like fire from hell, blasts the grey towers, rain pelts the grey cars. The grey city lies supine, moaning breathlessly in the endless night. Thunder strikes; its fingers scratch the windows of the grey prisons, seeking a way in. Panes shatter, shutters scatter, tiles fly. Thunder strikes; like a crying child, the grey metropolis cowers and recoils. Silence. Thunder strikes; dark covering darkness. Its void boom echoing among the grey souls, shivering against grey walls and under the beds, awaiting the end. Thunder strikes, then lightning. Reaping the sky apart, like heavenly fire, for a moment, the grey city lies naked, defenceless in the light. For a moment, thunder is silent, the sky waits, the universe is still. Thunder and lightning, the universe opens and pours its rage onto to dormant giant. Thunder: the warning. Then lightning. Aeons of darkness break, a single light lashes the land. Amongst the million grey souls, lightning strikes. Lightning strikes, the city awakes. From nightmare to nightmare the grey souls raise their heads in silence. Thunder strikes, then lightning: cutting the endless night, light falls on a dream.
Nuff said.

The silence ends!

January 30, 2014

My word, I’ve been quiet on this blog!  Why? I hear you ask…well, it’s because each new idea I get for a novel leads to about 50 pages before I realise it’s not going to work.  In the case of The Flood, it’s because I wanted rational treatment of the Enoch and Noah stories but they are not really amenable to such treatment.   In any case,I’ve been doing a lot of reading into the esoteric and am starting to accept the non-rational, a subject I’ve touched on earlier (what are we made of?).  In addition I’d created a Utopian world for Enoch’s people which I felt was totally unconvincing as those prototypical Hebrew tribes would have been at each other’s throats, then as now.

So, what next?  I’ve been doing a hell of a lot of reading and have a Kindle now (good for Amazon, bad for my bank balance) and have decided to re-energise my attempts to market my existing novels, concentrating first on Flight Into Darkness.  I’ve been in touch with fellow writer Adriano (Ade) Bulla and he’s recommended a number of things which I’ll try.  First, get active on Twitter again.  Done.  Second, get more reviews.  WIP.  Third, create new links that can be used in social media using  Done.  Apparently it connects to your international Amazon site so it will be useful if it works as advertised.  The link is:  Paste it into your browser and see where it takes you.  Amazing! Well, almost amazing….mine takes me to, not but if you are in UK, it might take you to, I don’t know.  I’ll get my daughter to check it out. (Postscript:  Yes, it works.  Thanks Becky!)

Next is to get onto Shelfari, apparently, although it seems to me to be a service for readers rather than writers.  Still, nothing to be lost.

Next is to get interviewed by the local press.  My partner has managed to get a great interview for his new doggie hotel and I’ll try for something similar both in the Portugal News and one of the local glossies, although I don’t think the next one comes out until April.  There’s no such thing as bad publicity.  I had been planning a Facebook launch party and maybe a free offer for a few days, but FB is really only for friends and if you give the book away for free, the readers cannot leave reviews and that’s what it’s about.  We’ll see.

As a complete aside, I’ve just finished reading Ade Bulla’s ‘The Road to London’ ( and was bowled over by it.  I left a review in my own lame style but cannot do better than to post here someone else’s review which is right on target:

This first novel by Adriano Bulla certainly does not disappoint. The Road to London is a work of wonder and lyrical intensity. Bulla writes with a richness that must be read to be believed; his language has a vivid sensuality, and each word seems perfectly chosen. In each chapter, the lines of reality and dream are blurred, and we as readers explore the complexities of the human soul. Described by Bulla himself as a `spiritual novel’, The Road to London is a novel to be reckoned with, one which contains a depth of perception hitherto unseen, a broad originality that one can only envy. We can only hope that this elusive author and poet will continue to write and astound. Read with awe. And read with wonder.

The only problem with reading work like this is that it makes you despair of ever being able to do anything as good. However, as my old mate Adele says:  ‘Don’t compare yourself though. We all do that. I’m reading a book at the moment by AM Homes called May we all be forgiven and it makes my writing look like shit. So there you go. We are our own worst critics.’

She’s so right. I hope.