Heaven

Robert Marling is on a losing streak. He's a struggling architect with a gambling problem, and a wife who is suing him for divorce. When he meets Heaven, a streetwalker who has visions of the future, his luck begins to change – for better, and for worse.

A tale of chance and weirdness on Auckland's K Road, Heaven was first published by David Ling in 1995 and later made into a feature film by Miramax in 1998. The original novel is now available as a digital edition.

Excerpt

The red phone, the black phone. The pen making notes. Softly, the doctor wonders: 'When did you first start coming here?'

'Years ago,' Heaven says. 'I saw it in a movie.'

'What was the name of the movie?'

'I don't remember.'

'What do you remember? What do you see?'

'A dark room.' Heaven puts a hand to her face. 'The people are half-hidden. Covered. When I go into the room I stay there, I can't leave — although I know there are other rooms, hundreds. Exactly the same, almost.

'There is a light behind me that shines on everyone and tells a story. If they are holding something important, it picks out their hands — like with the three jacks, it picked out the cards. If they are going to kiss, the light shines on their mouth. The light flickers — it doesn't stay on one thing. Once I saw legs walking away — and I knew they were my legs, that was me leaving. I knew I was going to do that.'

Scribble, scribble.

'Anyway, it's like a movie. I call it that. But it's not, really. There's no screen.'

Scribble, scribble.

'Is that what you wanted to know?'

'Yes, yes.' Melrose looks up, amused. 'A movie theatre. Do you recall other aspects? Posters? Music? Usherettes?'

'There's something in the corner.'

'Yes?'

'Something — bad.'

'In what way, bad?'

'Bad nasty. It has teeth. A rim of teeth. And it drinks from glasses.'

'That's interesting.' He adopts a professional tone. 'You use the word 'glasses.' People see with glasses. Had you thought of that?'

Now it is Heaven's turn to be amused. 'No.'

'Does this thing in the corner see more than you? Is that why it seems nasty?'

'I don't know. It just waits there. In the corner.'

'A corner is also a place where two walls meet,' Melrose says. 'Where two things come together.'

The light flickers over the doctor's face. Heaven says nothing.

Excerpt from Heaven by Chad Taylor.

Reviews

"Deft and economical… Lust, lies and opportunism shape a world where realities are constantly shifting." – Metro

"Wonderfully urban… A formidable skill with words." – Evening Post

"An adroit stylist with a penchant for the eccentric and the grotesque. He relishes turning over literary stones and observing the creatures which scuttle out from under them." – North & South

"Relentless energy… Exceptionally good dialogue." – Stamp