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Latest News

September 29, 2018 - Robinson has completed his third Appalachian Trail thru-hike!

May 16, 2018 - Robinson's third Appalachian Trail thru-hike has begun. Find his Field Notes under The Travels tab.

April 20, 2018 - The Latter Half of Inglorious Years is now available from Amazon and bookstores!

March 2, 2018 - The Latter Half of Inglorious Years is finished and has gone to the editor! Look for publication soon!

January 2018 - The Appalachian, Notes from the Field, and Life in Continuum are now available from Ingram, std discounts, rtnble

April 2017 - Returned from Nevis with 15 chapters, new friends, low blood pressure, and a good tan. May I go back now?

November 2016 - Fled to Nevis in the Caribbean

October 31, 2016 - Are there any reading groups out there? Fiction? Science-Fiction? Travel? I will provide up to 10 copies of The Appalachian, Life in Continuum, or Notes from the Field to the first reading group of each genre to get in touch, in exchange for reviews on Amazon.

October 6, 2016 - A second edition of Notes from the Field, with improved maps and updated cover art, is now available.

June 24, 2016 - Field Notes have begun. See Travels page.

June 2016 - Robinson departs for France at the end of this month for a re-hike of the Alps and a reconnection with Hannibal.

 

May 19, 2016 - Notes from the Field is live on Amazon.com!

 

April 2016 - Work on Notes from the Field is complete. Look for it in bookstores or on Amazon soon.

 

Jan 2016 - Robinson is at work on his next book, Notes From the Field: A diary of Journeys Near and Far.

 

Dec 2015 - The Appalachian has been named to Kirkus Reviews' Best of 2015!

Copyright 2018 by Kirk Ward Robinson

The Latter Half of Inglorious Years: A Novel

The Latter Half of Inglorious Years

A Novel

A Highland Edition (284 pp.)

$15.99, paperback

ISBN: 978-0-9996042-3-6, April 19, 2018

An untimely death and a mysterious manuscript propel an under-motivated 37-year-old blogger beyond his personal and creative boundaries in a journey that threatens to expose literary secrets as bleak as they are beautiful.

 

Joplin Dean doesn’t ask much of life. He subsists on income from a mediocre blog while his assertive girlfriend pursues goals that might just leave him behind. His placid existence is upended when a family tragedy reunites him with his estranged younger sister, whose carefree dynamism forces him to question his own sense of self. When Joplin discovers a manuscript left behind by his father, a failed author, both he and his sister are thrust into existential crises. Following divergent paths, they navigate the very nature of creativity and obsession as they are led inexorably toward the identity of their father’s mysterious literary ingénue, Clarissa.

 

Exactly who is she? And do they really want to know?

Rave Reviews for The Latter Half of Inglorious Years!

Five Stars from Forward Clarion Reviews

 

Graceful and emotionally evocative, The Latter Half of Inglorious Years is a thought-provoking work of literary fiction.

 

Kirk Ward Robinson’s The Latter Half of Inglorious Years not only wraps a story within a story but also adds another literary layer to explore how family ties—no matter how tight or loose—influence the actions people take to bolster their self-esteem, especially in the media-driven contemporary reality.

 

When a phone video of Joplin Dean’s father’s death (he saves a toddler from being run over by a car only to be hit by that car himself) goes viral, Joplin and his sister, Kessie, are thrust into the media spotlight. On the same day, Joplin happens to publish a blog post asserting that media often take issues too far and glorify incidents for attention. This, of course, leads to much backlash.

 

Though Joplin hasn’t seen his father in years, his sister claims to have been close to him. Without his consent, she publishes their father’s stories, which he had previously self-published to limited success, and the book flies to the top of the bestseller list. Aspiring author Joplin suddenly finds himself in competition with his nonwriter sister and dead father, as well as cast as the antagonist by media, especially after he finds a forgotten manuscript of his father’s and publishes it under his own name.

 

Joplin tells this story to a bartender on the Caribbean island that he escapes to, and the book alternates between Joplin’s delivery, what he is doing on the island in the present, and excerpts from his father’s book. All three sections are woven together perfectly, with information—family secrets, press reactions—revealed with expert pacing and suspense. The story is pulse-pounding. There is irony on every page. The characters, both major and minor, all feel like real people; their emotional reactions to events are realistic.

 

Only portions of Joplin’s father’s book that are pertinent to the main plot are included in the story, which bolsters the thematic exploration of how family members’ lives, including the secrets they keep and how these secrets infiltrate their choices, inform individual perceptions. When Joplin realizes that a character in the book, Clarissa, is based on someone his father knew in real life, he has a change of heart and decides to speak with an investigative journalist who has been following the story from the beginning.

 

Graceful and emotionally evocative, The Latter Half of Inglorious Years is a thought-provoking work of literary fiction.

Praise from BlueInk Review

 

Kirk Ward Robinson’s clever novel The Latter Half of Inglorious Years tells the story of a writer and his secrets.


Joplin Dean is a mediocre blogger who reconnects with his sister after his father John dies saving a child’s life. While going through his father’s belongings, he discovers a manuscript, The Latter Half of Inglorious Years. John was a self-published novelist; now Joplin’s sister finds a publisher for John’s short stories— and becomes a literary and media sensation. Meanwhile, Joplin does something with the manuscript that changes his life. While enduring the ramifications of his act, Joplin and his sister slowly discover the personal meaning behind their father’s work.


The novel captures readers’ attentions in several ways. Joplin tells his story to a bartender and drinking companion while hiding out on the island of Nevis, interspersing revealing details with charming descriptions of the island and the friends he makes. The book also contains long excerpts from John’s novel— both manuscript and published versions—which gradually build suspense and the sense of approaching tragedy.


Joplin is a fascinatingly complex character, not likable, but understandable and perhaps even sympathetic by novel’s end. Joplin resented John for disapproving of his blog, and feels anger towards his sister for her newfound success. For a writer, his revenge is terrible, not to mention deeply unethical. He fails to understand the meaning behind his father’s novel until it’s too late.
The literary technique behind the narrator of John's novel, while inventive, can be difficult to understand. Indeed, Joplin's audience—the bartender and drinking friend—need him to explain it. Also, with scenes from both versions of the novel shown, remembering the differences between them can be challenging. Additionally, it’s briefly unclear if the beginning of one scene is set in Nevis or the past.


Those issues aside, the novel presents an intriguing premise that’s skillfully developed. Throughout, Robinson offers readers much to think about concerning literary inspiration and the complexities of family.


Also available in ebook.