October 06, 2012
Many may know Dr. Davidson L. Hepburn through his work as the ambassador of The Bahamas to the United Nations and UNESCO, however the diplomat wears many hats one of them being a writer. "I love to write," he says. "I like to feel that my expressions have some sort of meaning. I was addicted to reading and I worked to make sure I got an education so when the chance came to pursue it, I did. I worked hard to make a way through all of my studies." "My exposure in the diplomatic community helped me to broaden my mind about humanity and human nature,'" he adds. "And basically, I'm a teacher I think teaching is extremely important to help people understand how they can make their lives different."
Indeed, all of these influences come into play with the publication of his first book, "The Short Happy Life of Alexander Mann", where readers will see the culmination of Dr. Hepburn's long-held passion for the craft in fact, he has been penning the novel since 1964. "I was doing this for my own satisfaction not for publication," says Dr. Hepburn. "But I'm glad I got over my fear of publishing because I think the book has something to say that is important." "The book deals with human nature and human feelings and it sends a message that may be controversial for many readers, however the backdrop is the idea and search for unconditional love," he continues.
Told through a journalist speaking with Alexander on the last day of his life, "The Short Happy Life of Alexander Mann" follows the protagonist on his search for love through an experiment gone awry with three women, and its dire consequences. The story seems absurd with its many tragedies, arguably caused by Alexander through his seemingly contradictory actions, but the readers will find the tale of woe a lens through which to examine the emotional complexity of the main character, says Dr. Hepburn. "He is a seemingly heartless man in his actions, but the point is, in his life he was looking for unconditional love either from someone or to give it to someone," says Dr. Hepburn.
"I didn't find him unbearable I didn't like many of the things he did but in his character he's a likeable person and his emotional complexity makes me more appealing than a wishy-washy character or a strictly mean one." "I don't want to offend anyone with this book but this is real life we can't whitewash it, and we must elicit gut-level reactions," he adds. Indeed the story leaves no stone unturned in its grey-area explorations of religion, philosophy and morality. Dr. Hepburn, inspired by his PhD studies in comparative literature and especially by the work of Spanish scholar and existentialist Miguel de Unamuno, sought to instill such irreconcilable conflict in his protagonist.
"The story was authentic for me and I have two others in the works," says Dr. Hepburn. "I feel like it is a personal thing I had to do this and I was so relieved when I gave it to a publisher. I felt free, like this character after he completed his own story and journey." He hopes his readers will feel the same way as they get to know Alexander's story and perhaps also get to know more about themselves as well. "I hope that readers will see a character that is committed to a belief," he says. "The main point is he searched for unconditional love which is important. I hope they will also learn something about relationships and conflicts that come into our lives." The book will soon be available in local stores. Interested readers can visit Doongalik Studios on November 1 at 6 p.m. for the book's official launch, or find Dr. Hepburn at the book-signing at Logos Bookstore in Harbour Bay on November 3. In addition, UNESCO will also hold a book launch for the novel on November 21 in the United States.
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