A: I am a college philosophy teacher. I write books and articles on both philosophy and fiction. For a list of these go to: michaelboylan.net. I lecture on philosophy internationally as an invited speaker in 13 countries at such universities as: Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, Durham, University College, London, Sorbonne, Cologne University, Katholic University of Louven, Amsterdam, University of Copenhagen, University of Oslo, Trinity College and University College, Dublin , University of Sydney, Australian National University, Melbourne University, et al.
One of my short stories, “The Sin Eater” was made into a one-act play and produced in Sydney, Australia.
I recently published a book on human rights by Cambridge University Press and a book on the history of medicine by Routledge publishing company.
Q: Tell us about your book.
A: This book is a murder mystery. The victim, Moses Levi, is a prominent individual on the national stage. Initially, the suspect is Moses’ old college roommate, Peter Simon. Moses had hurt Peter in the past and now Moses had brought Peter into his national public policy on Affirmative Action. Moses is vying for Peter’s forgiveness. Moses is also seeking forgiveness to the 1,500 people who died in a chemical accident. Moses had gotten the company responsible off the hook for the disaster. How do you make it up to those 1,500 families and to the 15,000 families who suffered severe medical complications? Group forgiveness is a difficult problem.
So this is a book on who killed Moses Levi, but it is much more: a meditation on personal and group forgiveness from the perspective of Judaism.
Q: What inspired you to write To The Promised Land?
A: Lots of different events: the Love Canal disaster, various sorts of group tragedies (from the Holocaust to mass murders of other sorts). Also, I wanted to show the world a little bit about Washington, D.C. politics from the think take perspective. (I’ve worked in these think tanks—Center for American Progress and Brookings Institution.)
Q: How much time per week do you spend writing/editing your work?
A: Around 25 hours a week/ seven days. I take off around two weeks a year.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: in philosophy I have a book under contract with the University of Chicago Press on the origin of Greek ethics. In fiction, I am polishing a novel, Naked Reverse, which is a suspense novel and love story set in Chicago and Wisconsin in 1982. This book should be published around Christmas, 2015.
Title: To The Promised Land
Author: Michael Boylan
Genre: Literary Fiction / Mystery
Every student leaving the protected grounds of school wonders: must I now throw away my ideals, or can they guide me through the rough-and-tumble city? The philosopher Socrates’s descent into the bloodsports of business and politics was called “ketabasis.” But for the old college friends Moses and Peter, it is betrayal and murder found in Michael Boylan’s fast-paced and gripping novel, To the Promised Land. Can their friendship, and their morals, survive in the Washington world of corporate crime, backstabbing bosses, floundering do-gooder groups, and a media ravenous for scandal? The old adage, “Do no harm,” is pulverized in Washington’s internecine power-struggles: for nearly every action brings an unexpected harm, and several enemies. Moses leaves the law, seeking atonement for shielding a company that poisoned a town; Peter leaves the small world of the campus, and takes up a controversial campaign to alter affirmative action, seemingly to bring about “the greater good.” Their threads of ethics must do battle against lawyers, private detectives, secretive lobbyists and, looming over all, the charge of first-degree murder. Boylan sets philosophical passions, and an engaged dialogue about forgiveness, inside a film-noir world, where affection, family loyalty, and trust come under threat. Propulsive and witty, To the Promised Land is smart about ideas, and smart about people negotiating justice and power in public life.
—David Gewanter. Professor of English, Georgetown University.
Michael Boylan’s thought-provoking novel, “To the Promised Land,” is a gem. Read it for its suspense-filled, fast-paced action, for the philosophic insights its characters raise as easily as they breathe, or for probing its main mysteries: why did Moses Levi disappear; why did he send his journal to his college roommate; and, more profoundly, how can one heal a guilty conscience or live without harming others?
—Virginia L. Warren, Professor of Philosophy, Chapman University
Michael Boylan is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Marymount University. He is the author of 26 books and over 120 articles in Philosophy and Literature. Details can be found at michaelboylan.net.
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