In the summer of love, or rather of madness, a whole set of stories are emerging. But there is one that has got everyone talking. When Kurt decides to win back his ex-girlfriend with the help of a literary classic, he sets off a string of events that will build to a dramatic finale.
Half-Welsh, half-Mexican and growing up in London, Alex Raphael was surrounded by different influences and interests. But it was always books that spoke to him most and had the greatest impact.
He started writing when at college, where his love of reading evolved into a desire to write, in particular focusing on poetry and short stories. Studying English and American Literature at university meant he took a break from writing, as well as giving him the chance to see more of Mexico on his travels. He concentrated on his journalistic career while working on different writing projects, but his favourite genre of literature has always been short stories as they are what first inspired him to write.
That’s why his first book was The Summer of Madness, a romantic short story that tells of a guy who goes out to try to win his ex-girlfriend back. Will you be rooting for Kurt and his big public gesture or is it more complicated than that and you don’t want her to date him again? Either way you’ll get to know a memorable set of characters along for the ride.
His second book Illusions, Delusions reflects Raphael’s love of alternative short stories from the writers of his childhood and challenges the idea of the narrative. Will your favourite be the story in the form of a questionnaire, a poem or a set of jokes, among the seven very different styles?
Alex Raphael is currently working on his third collection of short stories, which will provide a wide blend of genres and an assortment of very original premises and distinctive character, with his trademark imagination, humour and memorable dialogue.
Here are his two books, available in both Kindle and paperback format
I really think it's super difficult to talk deeply about such a short book and it's also difficult to have a super meaningful experience, BUT I think it's a really good idea, it reflects and tells the story of a young man whose girlfriend left him because he was always playing video games and now he's super regretful and feels that he neglected her, so he finds himself in a journey to re-conquer her, going every day to the same place to read her favorite classic book. This story becomes publicly famous and many people begin to go to the place to learn more about this love story.
It was very fun, entertaining and quite smart because it shows a somewhat crazy love story with an unexpected ending and that's a very good mix. I think it's very easy in addition to visualizing the story in your mind and it's really easy to move through it, you finish this in less than an hour and it leaves you with a feeling that you've read something that was worth reading, you know? which is always great.
I highly recommend it if you like classic books and you're a hopeless romantic & especially if you want to read something short and entertaining that will surely fill you with feelings and you can't put it down until the ending.
This was an absolutely brilliant read , I definitely felt for Kurt as he was desperately trying to show his feelings after he was left , the grand gesture of reading her favourite book is something all book lovers will feel happy about.
With a lot of short stories you don't really feel for the characters as there isn't depth.... but that is the opposite in this book you feel like you know Kurt even if there isn't much revealed about him. The story itself is lovely , keeps you hooked trying to find out if she will turn up and what will happen .... very well written by a talented author!
I was provided a copy of this story by the author in exchange for an honest review.
In this short story, a man tries to win back his girlfriend by reading her favorite book out loud in public. I thought this was a sweet, simply written story that provides some commentary on our society's obsession with "the grand gesture." Normally with short stories, I find that there's not enough context or information for the story to make an impact. Here, the author utilized some clever tactics to help provide more background and character development. The premise held my interest - I wanted to know how it would all work out - although the writing was a little too plain for me at times.
Having taken his long-suffering girlfriend for granted one too many times, Kurt finds himself dumped. When the usual heartfelt apologies and begging fail to win her back he decides to make a grand gesture. And that's how he ends up reading from Wuthering Heights every day outside the local train station. But will it work?
This is a terrific, romantic short story. It's something you could download and read on your lunchbreak or even in your tea break for you speed-readers out there. It's well-written, flows beautifully and is peppered with some lovely comedic touches.
And although it's a short piece, its 43 pages are jam-packed full of interesting characters and ideas. I particularly liked that it touched on how such a public display of affection which years ago might have been seen as adorable by all, might today not be seen as uncomplicatedly romantic.
And when it comes to character, I was left thinking that this story could work brilliantly if expanded to novel length because the characters have already been given such life and left me with so many questions I'd like answered. For a start: what had the ex-girlfriend been doing the whole time Kurt was reading? What else is happening in the lives of the people who come to listen to him every day?
Overall: if you're looking for a quick, entertaining read to leave you smiling, I highly recommend The Summer of Madness.
Smart, well written, meaningful. Enjoyed reading this book. Delicious story about how our society works... #MUSTREAD before weddings or before divorce. The ending is kinda... suspicious, but happy. Let’s hope Judy knows what she is doing, haha
This was an adorable short story that made me want to revisit Wuthering Heights.
I love romance novels, whether it is feel-good or a tragic tale. Although this is a very quick read (of less than 50 pages), the author did a wonderful job in making you fall in love with the idea of romance. As Kurt says in the story, we always root for the main character to win the love of his life, no matter how ridiculous the method is. I was curious to know if the story is based off real events the author experienced, as he wrote in such a personal manner. He tells the story in simple, yet alluring manner.
Let’s not forget the references to Bronte’s classic. The character recites passages from Wuthering Heights that made me want to re-read the classic. Moreover, I really liked Kurt as the main character and thought he was charming. What’s really nice is that the author also contradicts the character’s actions from the questions that strangers ask him. Hence, it was nice getting both perspectives of the situation. On one hand, I loved Kurt’s determination to win back his love. However, on the other hand, I could also understand that it came across as he was stalking and pressurizing her by doing this.
The story also ends in a bitter sweet manner which makes it memorable. I hope the author writes an anthology of such stories/novellas and publishes them as he has a wonderful talent for writing romance.
Overall, even if you are not an avid reader, you will love this short story if you are in the mood for a nice romance novel.
This is a delightful short story, telling how after ignoring warning from his long-suffering girlfriend, Kurt Vannes is finally dumped. That's when he realises just what he's lost and he tries to win her back by publically reading and sharing one of her favourite Bronte classics with anyone who cares to listen to him. This gets him media attention and some folks turn up every morning to share in his reading. Will he win back her love? What will happen in the audience? You'll just have to read it for yourself to discover the answers to those question and find out about the final twist!
For such a short story the author manages to portray his characters in a way which makes it easy to empathise with them. The story is short but sweet, engaging and has a great finale. If you're looking for something to escape into but haven't got enough time to read a novel this is ideal at just 27 pages long.
Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for my copy of this book which I read voluntarily and have honestly reviewed.
From the first two sentences of this story, readers know they’re in for a wild ride. “It was the summer of love. Or the summer of madness.” And what a ride it is! You don't want to miss this one.
First, a little overview: When Kurt Vannes messes things up with his girlfriend, he sets out on a bold quest to get her back. He’s going to read her favorite book, Wuthering Heights, out loud for as long as it takes. Though the plot seems relatively simple, the emotions at play in this story are anything but. Just like Wuthering Heights, this book features desperately passionate people, doing anything they can to get what they want. In one case, it’s fixing a failed relationship. In another, it might be something as mundane as selling hotdogs. The fact that even the more minor characters have clear motivations makes it easier to fully fall into the world of this story. The pace builds in a gradual and natural way. As Kurt continues reading, the world changes and shifts around him, until the ending builds to an exciting and surprising finale that readers won’t want to miss. Raphael does a great job of balancing and examining the nuance of the situation. Kurt’s actions are not painted in strict hues of black and white; instead, he’s portrayed as a very real person who is capable of making choices that could be either romantic and courageous or uncalled for and unsettling at the same time, depending on the perspective from which you look at them.
The writing in this book also soars. It’s fast paced and conversational in a way that feels particularly organic and dynamic. The prose is just lovely as well. Poetic descriptions emphasize the intense emotions that play a part in this book, and Raphael writes about those emotions with such an easy confidence that proves he’s a writer to watch. Fun stylistic touches, such as including a journalistic article about Kurt and his quest, keeps the writing style engaging from start to finish.
If there’s any slight downside to this story, it’s the fact that readers who are unfamiliar with Wuthering Heights may not get quite as much out of it. However, even that isn’t really a weakness, as the writer helpfully includes actual excerpts from Wuthering Heights. Those excerpts help even uninformed readers draw important connections between the two works.
The Summer of Madness begins with a seemingly innocent premise: a girlfriend breaks up with her boyfriend when he continuously prioritizes friends and videogames over spending quality time together. The boyfriend (realizing the value of what he's had when it's gone) is determined to win her back. Yet as we read, the domino effect of Kurt's choices spread throughout the story setting the other characters on unexpected paths that were as engaging and interesting as they were unexpected. What I personally find fascinating about Raphael's work is his ability to show the depths of human interaction without lumbering the story down with "lessons". The universal truths are there but they feel natural and imperfect rather than rigidly black and white. The Summer of Madness is a clever story and definitely worth reading.
“1801 - I have just returned from a visit to my landlord - the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with… A perfect misanthropist’s heaven: and Mr. Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair to divide the desolation between us.” These are some of the classic lines that are at the heart of this story, a sort of short tale of the summer of love. Royal weddings, romance and an increase in weddings are the stuff of a summer season in which people are doing romantic and frankly daft things and this “short story” captures some of the sense of desperate acts. For this extremely slim volume has quite a powerful image of a man who is willing to try anything. Alexander Raphael has skilfully caught something of a particular summer so well that it is almost possible to visualise the main scenes of this narrative. A sort of romance, a sort of discussion of what lengths people will go to, and the effect of publicity on real lives is looked at in this well written story. I was pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this book.
The way that Heathcliff and others were summoned to help in a book form was because a woman got fed up with her relationship. After two years together, it appeared that she was fed up of him spending more time with his friends and video games than her, and accordingly leaves a farewell note on his gaming console. She tells him not to be in contact. However, Kurt Vannes refuses to take no for an answer, and he tries in every way to contact her. His voicemails, gifts and gestures are unsuccessful, even when he spends a lot of money. He accordingly hits on the idea of finding a public place to stand and read Wuthering Heights aloud. His appearance and normal shyness is memorable to those who gather around to hear his reading of his ex girlfriend's favourite book. Some are curious, especially when he offers no immediate explanation of his actions. Some come because they love the book and want to hear it, and some come because they spot someone in the crowd they like the look of very much. As a reporter is attracted and the story spreads, will this unusual stunt have the desired effect?
This is a deceptively interesting and deep story. A very short read, this is an interesting book and has something to say about the desperate power of love. I found it an interesting read.
This is an unusual short story about a last-ditch romantic gesture. The scene is set perfectly and the characters believable, although most only make cameo appearances. On reflection, the reader knows more about the cast of onlookers than the two main protagonists, but this doesn't matter its engaging and you want to know what happens next.
An diverse range of writing styles are used. Narrative, dialogue and a newspaper report, which adds to the authenticity. The plot is simple but its ramifications more complex. The connections with the classic novel the man reads are clear, but this is not a happy story so maybe the outcome is inevitable?
The contemporary setting and reactions give different interpretations of a seemingly simple action, everyone has an opinion. The ending is hopeful but not perhaps in the way he expected.
If you are looking for a quick, contemporary read that raises more questions than it answers try this its good.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This was the perfect length of book that I got to read in one sitting during the little one’s nap. She literally woke up as soon as I read the last word. Perfect timing.
This was a sweet little read, what I think is such a beautiful grand gesture of a man who know he’s done wrong to try and win the love of his life back. I’ve only just recently started reading short stories like these and I love them, and this is no exception! I definitely think that authors who can write complete stories like this and like Alexander Raphael are so talented. It takes a lot to be able to ensure the reader feels the story is complete in such a short amount of time and pages.
I loved the grand gesture that Kurt made, it made me want to read Wuthering Heights so badly! That might just have to be my next classical read!
The Summer of Madness by Alexander Raphael is a short, romantic tale of unrequited love. First, there is the main character with his lost love, followed by a series of secondary characters that just miss connecting.
As each person is drawn into the circle of Kurt’s grand gesture, snippets of their life give the short story an unexpected depth.
It’s difficult to write too much without giving away important details. Will Kurt’s plan succeed or will it backfire? Does a simple love story play as well in today’s world of intense media coverage? You must read this unique story to find out.
The Nietztche quote in the final paragraph is a perfect ending for The Summer of Madness.
I read this book through the Kindle Unlimited program.
At less than 50 pages this is a quick and entertaining read. After his girlfriend leaves him, Kurt is determined to get her back. But nothing is working…so he takes drastic action! But will his plans work?
Despite the fact that Kurt only has himself to blame for his situation, I couldn’t help but hope that his efforts would work! I found myself quickly reading through this to see whether he’d be successful or whether he’d left it too late. There were moments in this that will make you laugh, and others that will make you disgusted at the way humans can behave towards each other.
The plot is good and I could actually see someone doing this is real life! The overall take away message from this is definitely to appreciate what you’ve got, don’t wait until it’s too late and you’re realising what you used to have.
Only a short review from me today, as I don’t want to ruin it, but overall a lovely unique short story. Recommended by me.
Kurt his girlfriend has left him. but he wants her back. And in the summer of love (or madness), with the help of a classic, it’s the start of several events with a finale you won’t see coming.
The pity of reading a short story is that the ending too quickly there. After the last page I wished there would be more, because there was so much left in the open. What will be happening next to all those people I started to like in such a short space of time? I loved the determination that Kurt showed, not giving up hope, no matter what happens around him. I love grand gestures, and this one surely is one! Being also a lover of the literary classics, I loved the way Wuthering Heights took an important part in this story.
This story shows how the action of 1 man is the start of several events for several people. Due his grand gesture, people meet, get to learn the beauty of a book they wouldn’t think of reading. Also Kurt manages to create his own fan base that are hoping together with him for a second chance.
For me it was a quick, but entertaining read, turning page after page, hoping for that happy end everyone in the book is cheering for. Yet is also a reminder that you only know what you have until it’s gone. So cherish it all before it’s too late!
Kurt's girlfriend dumped him as he was more focused on his games console and his friends than he was her.
He is devastated and vows at that moment that he will win her back. The only way he knows how to show her he is serious is to stand outside the train station in town reading from her favourite book Wuthering Heights.
Over the coming days he attracts an audience, including a reporter all of them wondering if he will win her back.
It's a will they/wont they scenario but at only 27 pages this is such a quick read.
Wuthering Heights is one of my favorite books, so I was excited to read this novella. The story centers on the protagonist, who commits to reading aloud each day in a very public place from his ex-girlfriend's favorite novel, Wuthering Heights. At first, people take no notice of him, but he soon becomes a sensation. Will this literary public display of affection win back his love, or will it open new opportunities for him that he never imagined?
This is a very brief book, and the story moves along at a fast clip. I read the entire novella in one sitting because I quickly become deeply invested in the hero's story. I also thoroughly enjoyed all the quotes and references to Wuthering Heights.
I was very pleased with the way this novel ended. I don't want to give it away-- but I was interested to see how the author would resolve the complex issues he explores in the novel. He doesn't shy away from the fact that such a huge public display could be rather creepy and even stalker-ish. In the end, he finds a resolution that manages to be both romantic, feminist, and realistic.
If you enjoy short romance novels with lots of literary depth, then you will definitely have a great time reading this book.
I received a free copy of this book from Rachel at Rachel's Random resources. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I enjoyed this sweet short story. It's an easy read so ideal for when you want to read something that doesn't take long to read or if you don't read that often. It sees the character Kurt try and win back his ex after realising that he took her for granted and so he reads her favourite book out in public. It shares how far somone could go for love. I like out it ended and do feel that it was the right ending too.
The message behind the story is to cherish what you have, before you lose it. Our main character learned that lesson the hard way. You root for him to find his love in this story and in my opinion he didn't, but maybe he also did? Hmm, you'll have to read this to judge it yourself!
The book did contain some small grammatical errors like typo's or a letter missing, but nothing huge.
The final sentence in this book is a quote by Nietzsche and I enjoyed that ending a lot. This short story is definitely worth reading.
I really enjoyed this. I don't normally pick up short stories and I only got this one because I was at uni with Alex. It might be a short story and his first one but I found the style of writing and the content of the story wonderful. The whole notion of using a novel for romance I love and it's a story I won't forget. I can't wait to read his other short stories.
Such an engaging story. How far will someone go to regain a lost love? Has the grand gesture gone out of favor in the modern world? The story raises that question and leaves it up to the reader to decide ... in a most delightful way!
Thank you Rachel's Random Resources for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. Any opinions expressed are my own.
If you like short stories (43 pages actually) to read in one sitting, The Summer of Madness by Alexander Raphael is for you. This is a unique take on a classic novel, not a retelling, but using the classic novel as a means to an end. Honestly, I can't explain much without giving everything away, and I don't do spoilers. The main character is a guy who stupidly loses something very important in his life. Only after the loss does he realize what he had. At least, he acknowledges that he was an idiot to let go of this wonderful thing. Then, he uses a classic novel, one of my favorites, to correct the situation. He hopes, that is, to make everything right again and atone for his thoughtless behavior. Maybe he succeeds. Maybe he doesn't. You will have to read this story if you want answers! It is certainly clever and compelling!
Kurt spends all his spare time either out with his mates or playing computer games. His girlfriend gives him plenty of warnings but he doesn’t listen and she ends up leaving him.
Belatedly, Kurt realises he loves her and wants her back. How will he go about trying to win her back?
This story is a novella but the author still managed to pack plenty in. It is a different kind of love story and I was entertained by Kurt. You could tell from the writing how deeply Kurt felt about his girlfriend and his shame at how he treated her. This is a well written short story.
My thanks to the author and The Book Club Reviewer Group for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
I picked up this book through my book club to review and was entirely surprised and entertained by this story of love and the desire to get back the love lost through neglect. Kurt has lost his girlfriend due to being too absorbed with other things and not her. To win her back he decided a public display of reading her favourite book every day Wuthering Heights a daunting book in any capacity due to the Yorkshire dialect but I like Kurt’s determination. A great novella to read on the steps people till go to for love.
I know I'm in the minority with this but although I found this story sweet and easy to read it just didn't wow me. It follows the efforts of Kurt as he tries to win back his ex girlfriend after she finishes their relationship and the consequences of this on himself and others involved in his reading of Wuthering heights her favourite novel. There are some interesting insights into how the actions of others impact on others, either intentionally or not
Thank you for my free copy of this novel in exchange for my review
There’s something about short stories that attracted me. It was very interesting this book because of the great details in the narrative that make me feel emphatic and totally immersed in situations that are close to our times. Even the hot dog salesman guy. All this makes this book a powerfull story that I totally recommend you read.
The Summer of Madness has a bit of everything. All the best short stories do. And whether you’re a romantic or not, whether you’re rooting for Kurt or not, Alex Raphael has written a story where you will be fascinated to know how it all ends up. I enjoyed it so much and it had me thinking about it even after I finished. It’s also very funny. You should definitely try it. Andrew
It’s not a very ordinary story at all, it’s a story that tells you the normal life of some random guy who falls so deeply in love that would do anything to get that special person back. I never expected this kind of story, even though it’s a bit short, it makes you think about so many things in our own lives.