Wide Illumination by Tom Rubens
My main professional activity has been as a teacher of English Language and Literature in further education. But, while teaching, I have been intent on voicing my private-life experiences, and this I have done through writing fiction and poetry. At the same time, in understanding these experiences fully, I have been helped immensely by the study of philosophy. That is why several philosophical ideas are included in my fiction.
This novel is the second one in a trilogy about a young man's range of experiences which are derived partly from my background and partly from imagination.
The focus is on personal relationships, of both sexual and non-sexual kinds. The intention
is to convey the complexity of these relationships: the different elements that make them
up, and the effects on them of the passing of time.
Set in the mid-1960s, this second novel in the 'Illumination' trilogy shows its
central character, Richard Lane, studying at university, and fostering intellectual
friendships with some of his fellow male students. Also, during his first long summer
vacation, he visits Germany and meets a young German woman, Helga, with whom he
comes to share a deep and intimate understanding, as well as sexual pleasure. This sharing
is presented as especially interesting because, happening only two decades after the end of
World War Two, it shows the ability of young people, with their eager openness to
experience, to bridge different national and cultural backgrounds. Finally, the text moves
beyond Richard's university days to the world of work, and his first encounters in yet
another Continental country, Portugal, where a good deal of the final book in the trilogy will be set.