Hangdog Souls

Marc Joan

Deixis Press



ISBN: 9781739708108


Publication date: 27 July 2022

Rights: World



Kingdom of Mysore 1799. A guilt-racked British Army deserter tries to win safety for those he loves – but his reckless bargaining only leaves him trapped between destinies condemned to facilitate centuries of suicide and murder. Death after death each death diminishes him until – a quarter of a millennium later – a Keralan astrophysicist has the chance to annul the soldier’s Faustian bargain. But Chandy John is weakened by his own burden of grief. Will this twenty-first century scientist become just another helpless nexus between undeserved death and undeserved life?

Hangdog Souls is set in the Dravidian heartlands of South India – and in a blurred edgeland where alternative realities elide. Through linked narratives of guilt shame and the search for absolution this book takes readers from the arid Tamil plains to the highest peaks of the Nilgiris and from occult horrors in Tipu Sultan’s kingdom to creeping madness in the world of particle physics.

Spanning three hundred years the stories in Hangdog Souls weave together the fates and fortunes of multiple characters – individuals that echo through the generations asking always the same question: What weight can balance the death of an innocent?

Marc Joan

Marc Joan, a biomedical scientist, was raised in South India and now lives in England. He has published ~25 stories in anthologies and magazines including Nightscript, Weird Horror, Lighthouse Literary Journal, Structo and Smokelong Quarterly. Competition results include: 2017/2018 Aesthetica Creative Writing Award (finalist); 2017/18 Ink Tears Short Story Competition (runner up); 2017/18 Galley Beggar Short Story Competition (special mention); 2017 Brighton Prize (long-listed); 2018 BBC National Short Story Award (last 60 from ~1,000 entries); 2020 CRAFT Short Fiction Prize (top 4%); 2020 Punt Volat / Spencer Parker Memorial Award (winner); 2020 William van Dyke Short Story Prize (long-listed); 2020 Gatehouse Press New Fiction Award (Highly Commended); 2020/21 Aesthetica Creative Writing Award (finalist); 2021 Short Fiction / University of Essex International Short Story Competition (one of seven short-listed from ~780 entries); 2021 Brick Lane Bookshop Short Story Prize (long-longlist).