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Hello and welcome along to my stop on the blog tour for Catch 52, I am delighted to share a character overview with you.

Catch 52 Cover

 

What do you do when your love affair with Europe comes to an undignified end?

On 24th June 2016, Mike McCarthy wakes up to the news that Britain has voted to leave the EU. A committed European, he is shattered. Over the coming weeks and months, he takes a long, hard look at himself, determined to uncover the reasons why this travesty has occurred, scrutinising the faces of everyone he meets for those he believes may have voted in or out.

As he tries to cope with the looming horror of Brexit, Mike fondly recalls his visits to Europe as a young man, the relationships he formed and how these have moulded his pan-European outlook.

Digging too deeply into issues has always been his problem. Mike begins to question the views he holds so dear and discovers new things about those closest to him. As McCarthy staggers on from The Referendum to the unthinkable triggering of Article 50, he finds himself plunged himself into a different world of social comment and political media. As the strategy for Brexit emerges, he wonders where his future lies and questions his commitment to a cause that may yet plunge his and Britain’s hopes and dreams into the abyss.

You can buy a copy of Catch 52 via Amazon here


 

Michael McCarthy – 58 years. Art Teacher. English, from Liverpool. The novel revolves around McCarthy. His experiences, thoughts, lifestyle, relationships and history. He is a committed pro and pan-European; his views established early in life growing up in Britain’s ‘first Multi-Cultural city’ and later as a traveller on the mainland of Europe. His development from a naïve youth in Paris in 1979 to the cosmopolitan, resourceful man in Berlin in 1985 is striking. Although initially devastated by the result of the EU Referendum he picks himself up and moves on without giving up his ideals. He is thrown into a world of media political debate, almost by de-fault, which he is surprisingly good at. He is cosmopolitan and erudite, obviously much influenced by his travels around Europe. The book is an existential journey and explores some of his personal relationships with various men and women who have influenced him and continue to influence his views.

 

Inspiration

McCarthy is an ordinary man in an ordinary job. This was a primary requirement for me as I embarked upon the book. Like millions of other people his life is affected by decisions that in realty we have no control of; decisions and events that often throw everyday, ordinary people into situations that are generally alien to them. I am intrigued and amazed how often this happens: as I write the UK has suffered two terrible terrorist attacks in Manchester and London. ‘Ordinary people’ have been killed and injured, lost loved ones and been caught up in some way in terrible events that will have a bearing on their lives. They are thrown into something they have little or no control of. Many have taken to social media to express their views, some have been interviewed by television, radio and newspapers. We live in a world that just 25 years ago seemed futuristic and fantastical. Yet this is the world we live in today, a model for the ordinary man and woman. The mid-20th Century dreams and statements of people like James Joyce (Here comes everyone) and Andy Warhol (In the future everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame) have largely come true.

McCarthy is at an age that has seen both worlds. Born into post-WW2 austerity Britain yet old enough to remember and be influenced to a degree by the social revolutions of the 1960s and early 70s he is a product of his generation. It’s his generation that came of age during the middle period of the Cold War, witnessed and adapted to social strife, riots, terrorism, political upheaval, post-industrialism, post-modernism and the digital revolution. He has a foot in both camps, the old and the new and like many others of his age exhibits great adaptability. He is the ‘Ordinary Man’ of his generation.

Likes

He doesn’t have any fixed political views, is not a member of a political party yet is very politically aware and  astute. He can see the other person’s point of view without becoming partisan. He has an open, inclusive relationship with his two teenage children (Sam & Georgie) always seeking their views and opinions. I like his commitment to his job as a teacher and his students which nothing seems to deflect from, even his media and political activities. He is extremely adaptable and when thrown into the media limelight takes to it like a fish to water, surprising even himself. He retains a strong, if slightly sarcastic sense of humour especially when the going gets tough. Throughout the novel he has many different relationships with different women and is very comfortable in their company, whatever their role, not chauvinistic, perhaps even gentlemanly at times. He is non-judgemental and in no-way bigoted towards those who differ from him politically and socially, in fact as the book progresses he quickly comes to terms with the fact that the UK will leave the EU, without compromising his ideals.

Dislikes

He tends to cling onto the past, looking back at things through rose-coloured spectacles. He can be too nostalgic at times, again probably a generational trait (he won’t throw away his old leather jacket!)  He has a secretive, maybe deceitful side to him – he has carried on a correspondence with his former French lover Suzanne for 30 years, unknown to his wife Jane. He has never told her details about Berlin and especially Maria-did he get together with Jane on the rebound from Maria? Possibly. He appears to be more open with his 18-year-old daughter than his wife at times. He can look at things and people to deeply, too analytically, too intellectually – his Headteacher, his local MP, Tristram, Jack Nelson, even Guy Simpson. This may well be an anti-establishment, generational feature of his personality-he came of age in the wake of the Counter Culture, of 1970s and 80s rock music, street protests and strikes. When he tells us of the 1985 Liverpool School Children’s Strike he speaks with emotion and nostalgia, completely at one with the kids and their cause, which takes me back to nostalgia-a key theme of the novel and of course, Brexit.

 

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