Friends Battle Midlife Crisis – and Each Other – in Jim Arnold’s New Novel, The Forest Dark, from Eureka Street Press

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In the new novel “The Forest Dark,” Eden and Noah become fast platonic friends in the go-go 1980s. When they meet again 25 years later, they discover their past is still very much alive, involving serious consequences they must find the courage to overcome.

“ 'The Forest Dark' answers, with some trepidation, how choices made long ago can pop up when we least expect them to."

In his new novel “The Forest Dark,” award-winning author Jim Arnold tells a quirky, family-of-choice tale about Eden and Noah, middle-aged friends who must find a way to reconcile their unresolved past with an unexpectedly strange present. (ISBN 9781482366143, Eureka Street Press, 2013).

In 1984, during L.A.’s frenetic Summer Olympic Games—at the height of the Reagan years, also the early days of AIDS—conservative student Eden von Eiff befriends young gay man Noah Baldock and his boyfriend, Ronnie. Becoming quick buddies, Eden feels like the inconvenient third wheel until she meets Ruben – and little does she know that Noah also has his eye on this handsome Cuban. Nevertheless, after a wild summer, she’s pregnant, and struggles to keep her secret from her famous family back east when Noah offers Eden a solution to this enormous problem.

Twenty-five years later in 2009, these two baby boomers struggle to come to grips with the choices they made long ago in Los Angeles. Eden’s biological son, Louie, is now a social media star with an eye on Reality TV. Noah struggles both with job losses and his odd old “friend” Jivan, who seems to hold a mysterious power over him. Eden regrets not being part of Louie’s younger life and would like to change that — but has no idea how.

Thinking their troubles have mostly to do with middle age, the wrecked economy or professional failure, both are tested in ways they could not have predicted and thus discover what it is that’s really important, and what it is that lasts.

“The Forest Dark” is a contemporary family drama-comedy that anyone young or middle-aged, gay or straight, woman or man, will enjoy. Everyone has to make choices in their lives, and “The Forest Dark” answers, perhaps with some trepidation, how choices made long ago can pop up when we least expect them to, and how it’s possible they might derail us. As the Baby Boomer generation plunges headlong into their next chapter of life, “The Forest Dark” shows that it’s possible to keep some youthful spark as company on that journey.

Jim Arnold is the author of the award-winning novel “Benediction” (Eureka Street Press, 2009), a darkly humorous take on a middle-aged gay man with prostate cancer. He’s also the author/director of feature film screenplays and teleplays including the documentary short film “Our Brothers, Our Sons,” about generational differences around HIV/AIDS in gay men. He lives in Los Angeles.

“The Forest Dark” (ISBN 9781482366143, Eureka Street Press, 2013) can be purchased through local and online bookstores in paperback as well as e-book (Amazon Kindle ISBN 9781630015534) form. Paperback or electronic review copies available upon request.

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