Thomas Nigel Tanner’s Jeff’s Place focuses on a farmer transported from modern day to an other-worldly, alien-created landscape where lessons of love, loss, conflict and greed reveal ultimate consequences.
Jeff, 70, is an Australian farmer struggling with his age, drought, and the declining conditions of his surroundings. With his wife gone, his days are a repetitious routine of breakfast and chores with his canine companion at his side. Soon, strange occurrences, like plentiful water and his aging dog’s sudden renewed health, bring a fantastical quality to his environment. Before long, Jeff, too, has miraculously transformed—into his 20-something self.
Suddenly, snowflake-like alien entities comprised of pure energy arrive on Earth out of concern for a planet being destroyed by human power and greed. Their intention is to gather up living things, excluding humans, and transport them to another planet for survival. Jeff is offered an opportunity to prolong his existence by sharing his valuable knowledge of breeding.
Now on a new planet, with his memory intact, Jeff becomes a hairy, gorilla-like being with exceptional sight and hearing. His nomadic wanderings lead him to a variety of encounters, all while the author weaves together themes of desire, friendship, jealousy and conflict.
As Jeff traverses a vast new terrain, the story offers little dialogue, which slows the narrative. Additionally, some might find Jeff’s transformation unnecessarily extreme and jarring. But short chapters help keep the pages turning. And the bizarre chain of events that take the narrative from present to past (and onto a new planet) are easily followed. Tanner’s thought-provoking epilogue acknowledges that we all face struggles with the unknown and should use our own intellect to decipher fact from falsehoods, form our personal beliefs, and experience a joyful existence.
In Jeff’s Place readers witness a strange odyssey that juxtaposes worlds. The story won’t appeal to everyone, but those who ponder life’s beginnings and endings and enjoy fantastical events and contemplations of human survival should appreciate the journey.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.