Grak’s contempt is so strong, in fact, that it often leaves his fellow tribesmen bewildered. And when attempting to describe his personality, they find themselves in need of words with greater nuance. “Neurotic” is typically used. “Sociopath” and “narcissist” are also common terms. The most popular descriptor, however, is “pathological.”
Grak, on the other hand, sees his situation in a rather different light. He finds his behavior “necessary” and “selfless,” or even “benevolent” when his mood is just so. Most often, though, he simply attributes his nature to “being human.”
But of all the things Grak despises, his antipathy for olives takes precedence. In his efforts to be rid of this nuisance, he gets his first taste of power and ignites a series of events with troubling consequences. Unwilling to give up his newfound influence, he sets about honing his only true talent: manipulation. But as his grip tightens, Grak’s naively selfish exterior crumbles to reveal a dark and malicious evil …
In his debut work, author Peter J Story brews a robust psychological satire infused with dry humor and a pinch of emotion. Set just prior to recorded history, Things Grak Hates chronicles the life of a bizarre nomad and his descent toward evil. Along the way, this unconventional and introspective allegory explores a variety of complex issues. Among them: power, politics, religion, redemption, the dissemination of ideas, and human nature itself.
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Things Grak Hates is based largely on my observations of human nature. I spent a number of years as a volunteer abroad, and had ample opportunity to observe human nature at its best and at its worst. I’ve noticed that while we generally try to treat others with decency, we are (by and large) a self-absorbed lot. I wanted to delve into the human psyche to see what would happen if our worst nature was left to run its course.
Grak, of course, portrays an extreme self-absorption – extreme only because it is left unchecked. He spirals downward at a stunningly fast rate simply because no one stands up to him. Most of us have checks and balances in place that keep us from becoming our worst selves; however, I do believe that there’s a bit of Grak in each of us.
Going into this, I knew that Things Grak Hates wasn’t going to be easy reading. And that’s ok. However, I do hope that Grak provides you with some food for thought.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I wanted to portray the various aspects of human nature, so I think you’ll find a bit of everything in this book. You’ll find primitive philosophers, hard-headed literalists, and ambitious manipulators. You’ll find a few leaders and many more who are willing to follow. Here again, I drew on my observations of human nature to build my set of characters.
Of course, the story is told through Grak’s eyes. Because he’s so very self-absorbed, we don’t really get to know the surrounding characters very well. Some readers have said that riding around in Grak’s head left them feeling an almost clinical detachment from the other characters. I’d have to agree. Such is the perspective of the narcissist.
Grak never knew he hated cooking until yesterday when he prepared a meal for the first time. His decision was not made in haste, however. Numerous elements contributed to the sentiment.
What he found most annoying was that the choice to cook was not his to make. At least, not in the strictest sense of the word “choice.” Or rather, not according to Grak’s definition of it. He felt the responsibility was forced on him. “No other option” was his analysis of the matter. And yet, despite this abuse, he approached the duty with a willing mind. After all, the process seemed simple enough at first glance:
1 – Put food things in the pot
2 – Start a fire
3 – Serve
But step one proved more challenging than it let on. Of course, as is usually the case in situations of this sort, the first two legs weren’t the problem. They folded easily enough into the pot. The last two, however, those were the real challenge.
About the Author:
Peter J Story lives in San Antonio, Texas with his wife and their two pugs. He writes code by day and fiction by night, considering himself an author of deliberate, genre-free stories with a soul. While his is not a pen name, he does enjoy chuckling to himself about how well it suits his passion.
Being extremely shy as a youngster, Peter spent his days in two primary hobbies: studying people and reading. He found both pastimes equally fascinating. Among his favorite characters were Encyclopedia Brown, Sebastian the Super Sleuth, and Sherlock Holmes. When in search of new mystery stories, he read “Murder on the Orient Express” and found the tale intriguing. Unfortunately, he felt that the name “Hercule Poirot” was unseemly, and abandoned any further inquiries in the character’s direction.
Then one day, at the age of ten or so, Peter’s uncle introduced him to the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, and his world changed forever. He was carried away by the story and tried his hand at mimicking the epic. Unfortunately, due to his existing love for “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” this took an unholy turn toward a hybrid of the two worlds. But he enjoyed it, nonetheless, and isn’t that what matters most? Of course it is.
As he grew, Peter learned to enjoy a variety of new writers, such as George Orwell, Leo Tolstoy, Herman Melville, Ernest Hemingway, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Stephen King, Dave Barry, and C.S. Lewis, all of whom had a tremendous impact on his writing style. He planned to go to college (with a vague notion of majoring in something to do with literature), then decided to instead spend seven years as a missionary (mostly in Mexico City). The time paid off, however, and taught him even more about human nature and the art of telling a subtle, character-driven story.
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