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Shane Joseph

Shane Joseph was born in Sri Lanka and from an early age enjoyed writing.  As a member of the Burgher ethnic minority, Joseph has a distinct perspective when viewing ethnic conflict in his homeland.  He has worked in diverse fields including the performing arts, marketing, and management consulting.  He is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers in Toronto.

Fiction

After the Flood: A Dystopian Novel of Hope

[Brighton, Ont.]: Hidden Brook Press, 2009.

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

A tale of love, loss and lust in a fundamentalist society formed in the aftermath of a giant flood that destroyed most of the earth in 2012.
David Arthurs, born after the Flood, tries to save his Humanitarian city state of Tolemac—located somewhere in the former North America—from sinking into sin and destruction as the forces of Capitalism sweep in from across the waters of neighbouring New Eden. How is he to overcome the forces of evil when his father and founder of Tolemac, Samson, is having an affair with the beautiful New Eden exile Delia Stone, when media-manipulated local elections oust David from political office, and when a drug cartel is poisoning the minds and bodies of the youth in the once peaceful island state? And more importantly, when, for the first time, David finds himself succumbing to temptations of the flesh that were outlawed during the founding of Tolemac but never eradicated from the human genetic code.
After the Flood poses the question: “If mankind was granted a new slate to create Utopia, could it?”

Awards and Honours

2010 Canadian Christian Writers award for best Futuristic/Fantasy novel

Fiction

Circles in the Spiral

Blue Denim Press, 2020.

Publisher’s Synopsis

Fake News!!! Will Smallwood, a writer suffering from the dreaded “block” and from troubling dreams, is plunged into a living nightmare when he is swept up into a misinformation campaign aimed at hijacking the Canadian Federal Election.

On the run, Will is forced to confront his personal demons: his suppressed childhood, his stalled career as a historical fiction writer, and his lost love, Jacqueline. Does he have a second chance to get things right when he is drawn to a yoga retreat and meets the promiscuous painter, Divine Secrets (Dee), along with a motley group of academics, alcoholics and ascetics? And who is the mystery person with the Twitter handle @abandonedchild97 stalking him on social media?

From an idyllic lake to a breathtaking series of dashes between Ottawa and Toronto, pursued by mobsters and police, Will tries to assemble the pieces of the puzzle while coming to the realization that his dysfunctional past and complicated present are connected, that people and events are entering his life for a reason, and that to open his mind and heart without cloaking them in fiction or fake news is his only road to redemption.

Fiction (Short stories)

Crossing Limbo: Deep Moments, Shallow Lives

Morning Rain Publishing, 2017.

Publisher’s Synopsis

Greed, desire, ambition, loss, illness, death, and the driving quest to find purpose in a changing world—this literary collection tempts your palate with a multitude of themes and subjects, each more daring than the last. The characters in these 13 stories are wading through no man’s land, wanting to escape, but first needing to complete their personal journeys through limbo.

Opening with “Waiting for the Train,” in which a young girl and a forgotten writer contemplate suicide, and closing with “The Long Road Back,” wherein a woman uses tantric sex to heal the men in her life, the stories encompass all aspects of life without holding back.

Nothing is off-limits. Joseph draws a picture of life in the raw and deals with tough topics in an honest and naked way.

Fiction (Short stories)

Fringe Dwellers: Stories of People Living on the Edge

Brighton, Ont.: Hidden Brook Press, 2008.

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

Sid’s a war-hero and a bum, Gloria’s a beautiful luckless lover, Andrew’s a writer whose favourite haunt is the cemetery, and Julia is a priest with a dying congregation in a booming suburb. What have they in common? They are the Fringe Dwellers – people who once led normal lives until a sudden twist in the road sent them out onto the fringes of society. From the fringe they claw back meaning and redemption for their altered lives.

Why does Harry pretend that everything is normal when his whole life is falling apart? Or Professor Ram hunger for his attractive landlady while under an oath of celibacy? Or paralysed Nelly dread the touch of her brother; while Beatrice strips for her lover when he returns from his wife’s funeral? Are these people nuts? Or given their circumstances, would you have acted the same?

Find out, in these twelve touching stories of human endeavour against loss, circumstance and marginalization.

Fiction

In the Shadow of the Conquistador

Blue Denim Press, 2015.

Publisher’s Synopsis

After a silence of twenty years, Jimmy receives an unexpected letter from his old friend and nemesis, George, inviting him on a trek along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Arriving in Lima, Jimmy finds the ailing George as mercurial as ever. They begin their odyssey, catching up on the intervening years, reliving periods when their lives had intersected, and revisiting the events that destroyed their relationship.

Both men are haunted by the enigmatic Denise, the woman they had lured, loved and lost in Canada. Their conquest of Denise parallels the plunder of Peru by conquistadors Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro, the topic of a novel that George is writing in an attempt at self-discovery.

On the Inca Trail, George and Jimmy meet trekkers Ali and Bea who exhibit the duality of Denise: beauty and introspection. They team up, even share tents. But there are many treacherous turns along the Trail before the travelers arrive in the sacred city where George is forced to confront his personal demons and Jimmy is pushed to reverse the legacy of the conquistadors.

Fiction

Milltown

Blue Denim Press, 2019.

Publisher’s Synopsis

Sri Lankan refugee, Sam Selvadurai, fleeing the genocide in his homeland, settles in Milltown, on the northern shore of Lake Ontario; he buys an old hamburger shop and turns it into a gourmet South Asian restaurant, while the town folk eye him with suspicion. The restaurant and most of Milltown are owned by the unscrupulous but charismatic Art Hamilton whose wife committed suicide, while his troubled teenage son, Andy, languishes in a young offenders’ prison on the border of town after having emptied a shotgun in the schoolyard, killing two students.

Frank Morgan, the town’s mayor, is on the take, pushing an amendment through council to expand the local chemical plant – for the benefit of key investor Art Hamilton. Frank lusts after his assistant, Sue Miller, whose husband died at Art’s plant and who has her own plan for revenge. Sue is forlornly attracted to the town’s drunken lawyer and failed politician, Rick Jones.

When Sam’s teenage daughter, Sarojini, and Sue’s son, Billy, fall in love, and Andy bursts out of prison, the town erupts in violence and disarray. The forces of racial prejudice, parental neglect, sexual harassment, teen pregnancy, and corporate greed meet in a perfect storm in Milltown. The body count mounts and the town’s inhabitants are forced to examine their own lives before casting the first stone.

Fiction

Paradise Revisited

[Cobourg, Ont.]: Blue Denim Press, 2013.

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

Shane Joseph revisits his favourite haunt: the in-between world of the immigrant, where the past is unresolved and the present is incomplete. His characters are damaged, trying to make sense out of their lives, often having to journey back in time and place to find answers.

Bandu bilks tourists for a living; Jamie loses love and home to exile; Mark meets the woman claiming to be his daughter and is forced to face the ghosts of those he betrayed; Ralph hunts down his crippled uncle to learn the art of survival; Paul becomes a best-selling author after a life-altering event as a boy in a hill country tea estate; Rohit is propelled to international fame by his arms-dealing father who manipulates him from the grave; and Ben plunges towards the supreme sacrifice by leaving New York and returning to make a contribution of conscience in his war-torn home country. The men are spurred on by powerful women in their lives—mothers, daughters, sisters, teachers, lovers and wives—women who act as motivators, detractors and inspirers.

Moving between Sri Lanka and North America, these seven stories deal with the various stages of the immigrant journey. There are no happy endings, just soul-enriching ones, as each protagonist seeks his destiny while gaining valuable insights along the way.

Awards and Honours

2014 ReLit Awards, Novel (Shortlist)

Fiction (Short stories)

Redemption in Paradise: A Novel

Victoria, B.C.: Trafford, 2004.

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

“THERE ARE NO right or wrong choices. If your choices do not lead to wisdom, you will get other chances. In this life – or in another,” says Gunananda, a fifth century sage, somewhere in Sigiriya.

This prediction follows a motley collection of tourists arriving in present-day Sri Lanka on a four-day tour. Aggressive Australian journalist Sarah has troubling visions of a past life. She desires John, an idealist from Vancouver writing a thesis on fear. American expatriates Margaret and Robert Keane are embroiled in a love-hate relationship, haunted by the memory of their dead son. Returning emigrant Lionel is anxiously seeking the country he left behind. And burly Jefferson conceals the secret that brought him east, whilst liberally indulging an appetite for prostitutes. Escorting them is hard-drinking Asoka, struggling to survive the hardships of life in the war-torn island. As they step on the tour bus, each traveller unknowingly makes an appointment with destiny.

In the tragic climax at the crumbling temple, valuable lessons are learned, leaving lives indelibly changed. And the prophecy of Gunananda is fulfilled.

Fiction

The Ulysses Man: A Novel

[Cobourg, Ont.]: Blue Denim Press, 2011.

Publisher’s Synopsis

Martin James is a true Canadian. Born overseas, he is beset by trials and tribulations while growing up. Against the odds, he escapes from his violence-wracked homeland only to find everything he holds dear in North America jeopardized as he tries to keep his personal and professional life intact.

A modern-day Ulysses, Martin faces the quintessential question of the displaced, “Where do I belong?”

Set in Sri Lanka and Canada, this novel brings the dilemmas faced by many immigrants into sharp focus.

Links

Shane Joseph personal website

Publisher Blue Denim Press

Publisher Hidden Brook Press

Publisher Trafford