LIVERPOOL — Citing influences ranging from Don Delillo to James Joyce, writer Basil Dillon-Malone — who lives in Liverpool on Sweet Gum Lane — is basking in the glow of his first novel.
An immensely imaginative story told in colorful — sometimes purple — prose, “The Last Smoker on Earth…and the End of Literature” focuses on an unlikely but appropriately flawed hero hooked on nicotine.
‘Last Smoker on Earth’
Published this past June by the Manitoba-based FriesenPress, “The Last Smoker” is set in a fictional world in which smoking has been banned globally. The Act of Cessation was launched during the transition between the Bush and Obama administrations with dire implications because of the rampant rumor of Obama being a closet cigarette-smoker.
“The novel uses tobacco as a metaphor for the dwindling interest in reading and literature today especially by [millennials],” Basil said. “It’s a satire about climate change, lung cancer, obesity, information overload and economic collapse.”
Replete with puns and prose heightened by its stream-of-consciousness process, the novel overflows with allusions, literary and musical, serious and pop, obvious and obscure, scientific and simply playful. The result defies genre.
The book is a parody about a gifted writer who lives two lives — one as the last smoker on earth and one in the media industry interfacing with celebrities, many of whom make cameo appearances. The last smoker relates to people such disparate characters as Oliver Stone and Dan Rather, Kelsey Grammer and Glenn Close, John McEnroe and John Waters.
Basil born in Ireland
First-time novelist Basil Dillon-Malone was born in County Mayo in the west of Ireland and graduated with a degree in engineering from University College Dublin. Creative writing has been his avocation, as he cross-trekked six continents working in the international cable-telecommunications industry while taking anecdotal notes along the way.
For the past 24 years Basil has worked as regional vice president at Arcom Digital LLC, headquartered in Syracuse.
Sixteen years ago his poetry collection, “mcdynasty: from the ming dynasty to mcdonald’s,” was published by Lapwing Publications, Belfast. Over the years Basil’s technical articles, diversely serious and whimsical literary works have appeared in print in the UK, USA, Canada, Switzerland, India, China and Argentina. He is a founding member of the Syracuse James Joyce Club.
Basil’s novel earned words of praise from fellow writers. Syracuse poet Patrick Lawler called “The Last Smoker” “a butt-kicking bit of lyrical-satirical prose.” Boston poet Suzanne Mercury said simply, “It’s a wild ride.”
Nurturing novice artists
Last summer, Sandra Sabene’s Liverpool Art Center moved from Lake Drive to the Village Mall at 305 Vine St. Now the center is expanding across the mall’s hall, opening a second space designed specifically to nurture future artists.
Liverpool Art Center will soon host youth art classes for students ages 6 to 11 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. The center will also host a Winter Teen Art Challenge in which best-of-show awards will total $350.
Looking forward to summertime, LAC will host a teen art camp on three extended weekends in June, July and August, at Pathfinder Studio & Nature Sanctuary, in Martville over in Cayuga County.
“Finding a creative outlet can make all the difference. Finding a community that feels like family and that’s golden.”
–Liverpool Art Center owner Sandra Sabene