Thursday, February 16, 2012

John Escher, Writer, Interviewed (Video)

We learned at Hollins College, now Hollins University, that literary discussion should center on the books more than author biography.  Still, a little biography is very nice when you are starved for attention.  And the interviewer, John Prost, is a generous and charming man.  This link should take you to our interview: .

Monday, February 13, 2012

First reviews of THE PURSE MAKER’S CLASP

A Dance of Four Characters

The novel, "The Purse Maker's Clasp" is a riveting, in depth story of four characters who have interesting and complex personalities and personal and professional journeys that intersect in unsuspected ways. The author, John Escher, uses wonderful descriptions and metaphorical language that allow the reader to enjoy the story on many levels. His use of language, characterization and symbolism are detailed and poignant. The story takes place in two basic locations,
Virginia and Maine, and Mr. Escher uses details of the culture and description of the topography in both places to enhance the story. The characters represent aspects of both American and Hungarian culture and interest, so the juxtaposition and commonalities of these disparate countries make the book even more enticing. This novel is a serious piece of literature and would be enjoyable and yet challenging for readers at any level.
—Edith Snively

A Very Good Read

I was soon drawn into the swirl of interdependency and desire that connects Escher’s primary characters in "The Purse Maker’s Clasp."  The central metaphor of the novel both draws the players toward and away from each other as a variety of forces affect their choices.  In the end we are left to determine whether they survive or succumb to the powerful currents.  This is a compelling book--well worth the read.  —Gretchen Snow Ruff


A new novel about Hungarians living in the United States is available in The Kindle Store at Amazon Books. THE PURSE MAKER'S CLASP by John Escher starts with the purchase of a small wooden skyscraper in Eastport, Maine. The buyer, an immigrant named Molnar Jucika, has earned her money through the sale of woven handbags at crafts fairs up and down America's east coast. Before Maine, Jucika, pursued by her cousin by marriage Molnar Andras, and also by the book's protagonist Carter Neuse, lives in Woodpop, Virginia in a rundown pistachio green house full of snakes by the side of a gurgling stream. Andras, who starts out as a tennis pro, eventually becomes a college president and moves away to the state of Montana accompanied by his American wife Mitzi (or Mici) Schnarrs, a horsewoman who loves all things Hungarian. The two parallel love stories include time spent in eastern Hungary and intersect in Eastport, where twirls The Old Sow, second biggest whirlpool in the world. All characters in this unique book seem caught in inexorable tidal currents dragging them toward the whirlpool, where at the bottom, they are able to talk with one another about the non-doctrinaire things in life that hold intrinsic meaning and resonance.  –Roger Bart

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A First Review

A NEW YEAR'S SERVE is reviewed here by Tom Allsopp, an active teaching pro in Philadelphia.  His website,, where the review first appeared with wonderful formatting, is one of the best in the tennis world (in my biased view).

Tom's review, like the book reviewed, raises this question for me.  Do I want to be known as a tennis writer or a public affairs writer or a novelist?  Answer:  All three!
A New Year’s Serve – By John Escher
A NEW YEAR’S SERVE: PERSONALIZED TENNIS STROKE DESIGN by John Escher is a truly unique book. John is a 71 year old player who has an attitude to tennis and learning that very few people of any age seem to have.

As a coach I struggle to convince people to make changes to their game. Very few people are prepared to experiment and make changes for fear of failure, even if the supposed failure would only be for a month or a few matches. Many adults believe they are just too old to make changes. John shows that you are never too old to make adjustments and learn more about the game.

Whilst trying to master every shot John attempts to imitate and learn from the top professionals while applying it to his own game. At the same time he shares his findings with friends and like-minded tennis enthusiasts on blogs and chat forums and includes them in the book to make it a unique read.

John not only tries to find the players with the best technique for him to emulate but he describes the shots in incredible detail. It took me a long time to read the book because I had to pick up a racket and swing it to better help me understand what John was saying. This all adds to the reading experience.

However, more than swinging the racket around my living room while trying to figure out the nuances of Federer’s forehand, I like the example that John sets for other players, especially juniors. John points out that juniors “don’t go snarfing around every tennis court like the young Pancho Gonzalez looking for elements or strokes to emulate.” He also thinks that many young players don’t have an interest in being their own coach because a coach can only take you so far, the player must fill in the rest of the blanks. I totally agree!

John tells an interesting and all too familiar story in his book;

“The physician sister of a former number one in U.S. junior doubles told me at an oysterfest that her sister no longer plays tennis. Why? Because she can’t stand recreational tennis. To her, tennis is about a certain level of competition. Without that, there isn’t a thrill.”

John goes on to say, “If you won’t be a searcher in tennis and continue your search all through your life, you’ll reach your level of mediocrity breathtakingly soon. You won’t have enough interest in the game to continue with it every day.”

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Book Is The Thing

What more is there to say?  Please do click on something.  I hope you like what you find.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Well, I've put up three books in the Kindle Store at Amazon:  A NEW YEAR'S SERVE, THE PURSE MAKER'S CLASP (novel), and THE LAST WORDS OF RICHARD HOLBROOKE, all part of the SPORT, FICTION AND INSANE WAR TRILOGY.  All three have already been reviewed at by Roger Bart.

In addition, there is John Escher's Blog (extremely critical) at Organizing for America which is the Barack Obama website, and A New Year's Serve, the long continuing and most read customer thread at TennisPlayer.Net .  I post regularly at Common Dreams, The Daily Beast, and New York Times electronic as well.

Where my excess energy now will go, to those places or to new fiction or rather to here, I'm not sure.  We'll see.