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Lovelock, Nevada: An Explanation by Leslie Hale Roberts

Lovelock, Nevada: An Explanation

by Leslie Hale Roberts

108 pages
Legendary director faces his past and overcomes fear and doubt.

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Category: Fiction:Literary
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About the Book
On his way home to California after a marginal existence in New Jersey, legendary experimental theater director and classical scholar, Tad Baker, breaks down in the middle of the Nevada Desert. In Lovelock, a small desert town off of I-80, Baker resolves to repair relations and revive his theater group, the Institute of Absurdity, which he refers to as ‘the School’. Unfortunately, after once again taking a long, hard look at what took place and why, he becomes confused and waffles between decisions:

“Should I apologize to everyone for my arrogance and forgive my friend’s failings, including the abuse I received at the hands of the master, Demetrius Toteras, or do I stick to what my gut is telling me and drop the past entirely to forge a new future, alone but free?”

The book opens with an unflattering article about Baker’s Institute of Absurdity and his fickle mentor, Toteras, from 1991 in the San Francisco Weekly. Baker then makes a tape to his ex-friend, explaining the choices he made, his and the group’s failings and why he feels betrayed. Clearly Baker is not settled on whether or not to re-unite the group, and the book then follows him in Lovelock as he mulls over what he should do. He knows the School and its work is valuable and unique but when he again listens to some of the cassette recordings from that period, recordings he’s been carrying with him and anxiously hoping one day to release to the world, he realizes he doesn’t have the stomach to put up with the humiliation he received at Toteras’ hands all over again. Back then, he would absorb anything for the good of the School; now, the memories -and the tapes- make him sick.

Dismayed and waiting for his car to be repaired, he wanders the town and encounters people and events which reveal to him much of his own plight, forcing him to even greater heights of uncertainty and despair. He even realizes the mistakes he’s just made in New Jersey, including failing a friend who looked up to him. He is painfully aware he must now make the right choice, and the pressure he feels suffocates him.

Finally, after defending himself in a fight with a punk, he is unexpectedly arrested and put in jail for possession of marijuana; there, on the verge of completely giving up hope and betraying all that he knows to be true, Baker stumbles upon the one thing he’d been looking for all this time: his sense of purpose, what he’s actually about. He gathers his courage, accepts his fate and steps forward, confident and clear at last.


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About the Author
Resident of Northeastern California, married and living with his soul mate, father, writer, musician, disabled athlete and outdoorsman, Leslie's work is concerned with the observation and understanding of people in conflict with themselves and their realities.



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