Christmas Day, 2020 and in Japan Cormac is headed for the hills. In the midst of the pandemic the bar he runs is closed, his marriage to Eri is falling apart and a phone call from his doctor could change everything.
As a teenager in late 1980s Tokyo, Eri documented the rise of a legendary female punk band. In the wake of its explosive demise, she shed her identity and ran. Now an unexpected message forces her to exhume long-buried memories and confront her past.
Over twenty-four hours, everything they’ve been repressing erupts under the pressure of a year in lockdown. In times like these, it’s hard to hold on.
“Compelling, tense, gorgeously-drawn and perfectly-paced.” Kirstin Innes, author of Scabby Queen
“A raw yet compassionate take on a couple trying to deal with their fears and frustrations, both with themselves and with each other, in the time of Covid.” J. David Simons, author of An Exquisite Sense of the Beautiful
“Each account equal parts witty and somber, frenetic and contemplative […] a Rashomonian glimpse at 24 hours in the lives of two separate individuals in one unstable relationship.” Metropolis, Japan
“A very powerful read – brutal and sharp, tender then heart-breaking – somehow Iain Maloney covers vast stretches of time and explores the true depth and tangled fragmentation of relationships in the space of 24 hours and within tens of pages. The way he’s folded time into that precarious moment before collapse is incredibly clever. The sensations raised by reading this linger long after you’ve finished.” Clarrisa Reid, author of In February
“Life is Elsewhere/Burn Your Flags isn’t just about a marriage that is falling apart. It’s about destroying borders and realizing who you are. It’s about being unrestrained by the system that is designed to keep you in. Perhaps most important, it’s about stereotypes. Iain Maloney has done a wonderful job portraying complex issues in few words. There is so much more to enjoy once you put the book in your hands and start to read.” Taylor Drew, A Basket of Words
“An emotive powerhouse of a novella… the scope is huge and the effect is a rich, detailed slice of life story… Gorgeous.” Sarah, Scot Lit Daily
“Maloney’s novella perfectly captures this liminal space we’ve all been in.” Suzanne Kamata, Borderless Journal