Thursday, October 26, 2017

All Inclusive VBT

A story about an all-inclusive resort, the ghost of an unknown father, and the tragedies we can’t forget.

What’s it like when everyone’s dream vacation is your job? Ameera works at a Mexican all-inclusive resort, where every day is paradise — if “paradise” means endless paperwork, quotas to meet, and entitled tourists. But it’s not all bad: Ameera’s pastime of choice is the swingers scene, and the resort is the perfect place to hook up with like-minded couples without all the hassle of having to see them again.

Despite Ameera’s best efforts to keep her sideline a secret, someone is spreading scandalous rumours about her around the resort, and her job might be at stake. Meanwhile, she’s being plagued by her other secret, the big unknown of her existence: the identity of her father and why he disappeared. Unbeknownst to Ameera, her father, Azeez, is looking for her, and they both must come to terms with the reason why he abandoned her.

A moving new work from award-winning author Farzana Doctor, All Inclusive blurs the lines between the real world and paradise, and life and death, and reminds us that love is neither easily lost nor found.

March 27, 2015, Huatulco, Mexico

A DC8 droned above.

“Here they come,” I announced. Friday was our departure-arrival day. One sunburned and grouchy group left for their northern homes, and another cohort, ecstatic and pale, touched down and took their place.

Roberto grabbed a plastic file-box and gestured for me to sit beside him. I lowered myself onto the makeshift seat and wiped away a slick of perspiration from the creases behind my knees.

“Ameera, you hear about that tour rep getting fired over at Waves?” Roberto stroked his thin moustache.

“Nancy? Yeah, I’m still in shock.” I hadn’t known her well, but I’d gone clubbing with her and the other tour reps from our sister resorts a few times. She’d seemed all right to me. The airplane circled closer, and, in unison, we clapped our hands over our ears and tilted our chins to the sky. After it had rolled across the tarmac and quieted its engines, we resumed our gossip.

“What I don’t get is why someone in their late twenties would want to have sex with a fifteen-year-old.” Roberto shook his head, as though trying to dislodge the idea.

“But didn’t the kid lie about his age? He told her he was eighteen, right?” While I’d never in a million years sleep with a teenager, I could imagine how booze and loneliness could have led Nancy to her mistake.

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

It’s almost Hallowe’en! This is one of my favourite holidays, not just because I’m sugar-addicted, but because I love to dress up. I have a tickle trunk full of scary masks and silly wigs.

But I also love the holiday because it’s a time of year when the veil between the mundane and the spirit worlds thins. I like to imagine this veil as always being somewhat porous. It’s probably why I often include splashes of magical realism in my work.

My latest novel, All Inclusive has a ghost character, Azeez, who helped me write the book. Yes, you read that right.

At a time when I didn’t know how to complete the book, I heard a voice in my head telling me that he was my missing character. He told me his story, and the following weeks, I wrote down his narration, effortlessly. I can tell you that a spirit was feeding me his story because normally writing doesn’t come this easy.

Other writers will tell you similar stories about hearing entire stories and poems, and feeling as though there are just a typist, recording words. I’ve often felt that pieces of all of my books have arrived this way. I wish it was more than just pieces!

Might it be possible that this is where all stories are born, whether the author knows or acknowledges it? And would it help writers listen better if they did believe in ghosts?

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Author Bio and Links:
Farzana Doctor is the author of three novels: Stealing Nasreen, Six Metres of Pavement (which was a 2012 Lambda Literary Award and the 2017 One Book One Brampton winner) and the recently released All Inclusive which was a Kobo and National Post Best Book of the Year. Farzana was named one of CBC Books’ “Ten Canadian Women Writers You Need to Read Now”. She is also a Registered Social Worker with a part-time psychotherapy practice. She curates the Brockton Writers Series.

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