Tuesday, 20 September 2011

To Infinity and Beyond Nostalgia.

Beyond Nostalgia
Have you heard of Tom Winton?

If not, this is where you do, and afterwards are properly grateful to me for the introduction, I'm quite sure.

I first 'met' Tom on Authonomy where he, like me, was slogging it out in the long battle which was supposed to lead to a publishing deal with Harper Collins. Of all the thousands (yes, literally) of books of which I read the first part on that site, Tom's Beyond Nostalgia stood out among a tiny handful of books which were ones any publisher with any sense should have grabbed. (And he was kind enough to say something similar about my own Belfast Girls.)

Belfast Girls
Tom, unlike me, didn't feel obliged to stick it out until the end, a disappointing review which, in my case, said nice things but definitely didn't offer a publishing deal unless I rewrote the book as either a romance or a thriller. Instead, he pulled out, and went on to achieve great success on YouWriteOn. Meanwhile, he found that Tim Roux of Night Publishing was only too happy to publish Beyond Nostalgia; and the sales have been in the thousands.

Beyond Nostalgia starts by going back to the sixties, when the main character, Dean, was a teenager, in New York, and the love affair which he remembered even through the happy but poverty-striken marriage of his adult years with Maddy. I don't intend to spoil the story for you, but although this book has mainly been pushed as a romance it is much, much more.  The slummy background of New York years ago is beautifully presented and springs to life from the beginning. The financial struggle of Dean and Maddy to live is realistically detailed.The characters, especially the narrator, are immediate, real, vivid. The social background, the poverty and its effect on the characters, is of major importance, and the relationship between this man and his wife is delicately and poetically drawn. The twist in the plot is gripping and page-turning.

It's no surprise that so many have wanted to read this book.

The Last American Martyr
But now Tom Winton has surpassed himself. In his new book, just out, The Last American Martyr, Tom has taken his writing 'to infinity and beyond.'  This book has all the detail, the gritty reality, the living characters, of the first, but in its theme Tom Winton plunges yet deeper again.

The main character, another Tom, has won a Nobel prize for his first and only book, which exposes the corruption and greed of the world's economy, and moves millions all over the world to rise up in protest to bring about change. But this has put Tom in fear of his life, so that he has been forced to hide out, after some horrific experiences, from his enemies in Big Business.

The brutal truth, the up close reality, of Tom Winton's writing on this very important subject, should make his book as equally influential and successful worldwide as that of his character, if there's any justice. One thinks of books like Salinger's Catcher in the Rye or Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, and it's instinctive to place The Last American Martyr beside them, as one which will impact a generation.

This may seem an extreme thing to say. But to me, Tom Winton stands out as a writer to be remembered.

Already I'm looking eagerly to see what this amazing man will have for us next.

You can buy Tom's books on Amazon as either paperback or Kindle, on either the USA or the UK sites.




  1. Gerry, what a wonderful post, and such an accurate one. Tom is a fine writer, both "Beyond Nostalgia" and "The Last American Martyr" Have pride of place on my bookshelf.

    Right up alongside "Belfast Girls".

    I consider myself privileged to own a copy of all three of these marvelous pieces of literature.

  2. Soooz, thanks for your kind comments. I'm really glad you enjoyed the post. Tom's writing deserves to be recognised much more widely – I hope his new book will take him a giant step forward, as it should.
    You know, of course, how highly I think of your own Empty Chairs, which I wrote about in a previous blog. If anyone out there hasn't read either the post in question or the book itself, now's a good time to catch up!

  3. Great post, Gerry.

    I am so far behind with my reading I haven't yet got to The Last American Martyr. It's on my Kindle, but is one book I want to sit down and read in one go, not grabbing a bite here and there.

    Why? Because I so loved Beyond Nostalgia.

    Way back in May over on MWi I said of that book:

    "Tom’s novel Beyond Nostalgia, is destined to be one of the great books of the twenty-first century. If you haven’t read it yet, I urge you to do so. Love stories burn slowly and rarely set the charts alight, but Beyond Nostalgia will be selling long after us upstart commercial fiction merchants with our serial killers and gritty crime stories have faded from memory."

    I first featured Tom on MWi as long ago as March, when he revealed the story behind the story of Beyond Nostalgia.


    Tom is one of the great social writers of the twenty-first century.

    Someone beat me to it in comparing Beyond Nostalgia to Gone With The Wind, so I can only second that comparison.

    Really looking forward to taking a break and reading The Last American Martyr as soon as possible.

  4. Gerry I also first met Tom on Authonomy and loved the book then. How wonderful that it has gone to the current dizzy heights and given him the recognition he so deserves.

  5. Mark, thanks for your comments. I know you plan another post from/about Tom soon, and am really looking forward to it. I fully agree with what you say about his writing, and I am sure The Last American Martyr can only increase your good opinion of him.

  6. Tee, good to see you here. Yes, Tom has done well so far, but I'm sure he's going to go a lot higher if there's any justice in the publishing world.
    They missed out on him when he was still looking for a publishing deal. Now he's gone for self-publishing, with TLAM, and I wonder if he'll stick with that when, inevitably, the big publishers wake up and realise he's a star? Be interesting to see!

  7. Tom has been having difficulty posting a comment, so he's asked me to post this in appreciation and gratitude to those of you who have said such supportive things about him.

    'Thank you all so much. Soooz, Gerry, Mark, and Tee, you have been some of my staunchest supporters. Believe me when I say, the echoes of some of your earlier words have gotten me through some very down times. You all know there are plenty of those in this writing business. My only hope is that someday my books will reach the heights that you all believe they will. Whether they ever do or they don't, I'll never forget your invaluable encouragement and undying loyalty. You guys are tops--and that comes from a special place deep within the heart.!

    Thanks, Tom!

  8. Great post Gerry and unless I don't recognise Tom Winton by his real name, I don't think our paths crossed on authonomy. I have a massive backlog of reading at the moment but if either of you remember, please feel free to give me a nudge in six months time - both books sound like my kind of thing, being a bit of a gritty sagas fan.

  9. Jax, thanks a lot, both for the comments and on Tom's behalf re the intention of reading his books. I'm sure you'll really enjoy them, even in six months time!

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