• East Garrison: the book and its author

    By Jon Roland Guthrie

    A Book Revieweast-garrison-coverweb.jpg

    Gwyn Weger says that her newly released book, East Garrison, was conceived while she was standing at the deeply tinted window in her office, musing while she stared outside into a world shrouded in heavy fog. She wondered what it would be like for someone to be stranded somewhere-anywhere-on the vast outlands of the former Fort Ord, an abandoned military base. She remembers shuddering.

    Gwyn’s mind slipped into the past, to her growing up with an alcoholic father who was fascinated by Nazi ideas, Hitlarian ideals, and WWII memorabilia … counterfeit or not. At one time, Gwyn recalled, her father required his daughter to help fashion fake Nazi mementoes for resale as the genuine articles.

    Her father gradually fleshed out as one of the leading characters for Gwyn’s nascent novel.  He became Jack, a schizophrenic who grew up pretending he was a German soldier … but when he did become a soldier it was not for the Nazis, it was for the United States forces in Viet Nam.  Discharged, he moved home, moved into a dilapidated van, and devoted himself to his dog, Blondie, while he puffed marijuana, imagined being surrounded by soldiery and their military matériel, and languished in the remote sections of outland that had once been Fort Ord, but was now habited only by phantoms.

    The book might have stopped right there, festering, the way so many noble projects do, but Gwyn had something others often never find: a mentor.  For Gwyn, that mentor was a published writer, Scott Baker, living in Pacific Grove.  This unlikely pair would read together, criticize Gwyn’s work, discuss ways to transform Gwyn’s newly emerging dream of becoming an author into reality.  “You’ve got hold of a story that deserves to be told,” her mentor said.

    And you have the talent to do this, he might have added.gwyn-wb.jpg

    Excerpt from East Garrison by G. M. Weger

    The mountain lion moved quietly through the trees flanking the road, its large paws leaving distinctive M-shaped pug marks in the moist sandy dunes.  The sky was overcast, and a cool wind shook the Spanish moss that hung like moth-eaten rags from the limbs of the oak trees.  The lion moved in a quick stride, almost trotting as it traveled farther than it usually did through the sandmat manzanita and scrub oak to the flat plains of man-made roads and houses.  It’d found food around the empty human places before.  The cat’s pointed ears twisted at a sound.  Curious, it padded toward the noise, crouched behind some pampas grass, and watched unseen as a man passed by on the road.

    SONY DSCGwyn seriously started crafting her book; no easy task with a job, a husband, and two kids.  The fledgling author had decided on her father modeling for the story’s antagonist, why not step in herself and become the protagonist’s model?  No one could know more about her dad than she.  No one could be more immersed in trying to understand what he was all about.  Gwyn named her protagonist Tracy Dade.  To complicate Tracy’s lot in life (and add a bit of suspense to the plot), Tracy became pregnant with only an estimated two weeks to learn her father’s secrets before becoming a mother.

    Growing up, author Gwyn had developed deep affections for animals.  Among the species that were her favorites was the mountain lion (also known as puma or cougar).  Mountain lions were not unknown in the Fort Ord outlands.  A nearby hiker had recently been stalked and mauled to death.  Give the mountain lion a pair of cubs and … well, the feline and Tracy would share the commonality of motherhood.  Each would have the motivation, provided by nature, of off-spring to protect.

    Gwyn began weaving the threads of her authorial tapestry into a believable, although convoluted, maze designed to bring her cast of very real characters (yes, including the mountain lion) into a final grand clash and denouement.  And there’s a lot that goes before.

    Grab a copy of East Garrison and settle in for a mesmerizing read.  You will find yourself, to borrow from the author’s prose: “…in the company of the gods.”

    Reviewer’s notes:  East Garrison by G. M. Weger.  Synergy Books, Austin, Texas.  ISBN-13: 978-9-9815462-3-0.  Available from Amazon or your local book shop.  $13.95.  Visit the author’s web site: http://www.GMWeger.com.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on May 21, 2009

    Topics: Current Edition, Features


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