James M. Weil
Robert Price is a burnt-out man in his late forties who works in a dead-end job as a programmer with a dying programming language at a medical collections agency. He knows in just a few years he will be completely obsolete. To make matters worse, he is so underpaid that he is about to lose his house. His wife is a relentless shrew that he can’t stand living with anymore, and who refuses to work.
So, to escape his miserable reality, he daydreams about being young and virile again with a phenomenally successful writing career and is in love with a beautiful Colombian rock star who very closely resembles Shakira. Basically, he is living two lives—his fantasy world and the one where he is about to be crushed by his obsolescence. In his fantasy world he is the perfect image of what he thinks he should be and is a gentleman to the core. There is nothing erotic in his fantasies; it’s all about blissfulness and being in love with the woman of his dreams.
In direct opposition to his deluded fantasies, his only true way to vent his frustrations is his overwhelming addiction to seeing a string of beautiful, Latin hookers in Queens. One of the hookers, a gorgeous Dominican named Kelly, falls in love with him, and they end up having an unlikely love affair.
I am a big fan of the novels of James Weil (Swiss Chocolate, El Aguila) and Esmeralda is no exception. Here, Mr. Weil explores the life of a middle aged, lost soul confronting a world of shrinking possibilities. A disturbing, evocative and ultimately redemptive story, Mr. Weil pulls no punches in his dissection of a male psyche on the verge of a nervous breakdown, wrestling with his demons as he tries to save himself and his family. His weapons of choice include fantasy and addictive sexuality. Not a book for the faint of heart, but definitely a book for those who are looking for a brutally honest exploration of existential despair in a fractured universe obsessed with money, fame and power. – Robert Margolis
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The very day I finished Swiss Chocolate I was so supercharged with creativity and emotion, I sat down and wrote El Aguila in just three months. It is about the cafeteros in Colombia who get forced into growing coca after the bottom drops out of the coffee market. The guerrillas get involved and then all hell breaks loose when the military gets wind of it and tries to force them out. It is told from the eyes of a nineteen-year-old girl who hires a coyote to bring her across the Arizona border after her entire town and family are decimated by heartbreaking bloodshed.
My ex-wife is Colombian, and I spent a summer down there with her family. Her father is a successful cafetero who owns a finca high in the Andes, just above the town of El Aguila. I worked on the farm and busted my ass from sunup until sundown, learning the fine art of coffee farming.
Dailey Swan Publishing has agreed to take El Aguila on and traditionally publish the book. Can’t wait to see it in print!
Once again James Weil has captured my attention with his new release ‘ El aguila’. Interrupted by life I was forced to put the book away after three straight hours, but I was back at it as soon as I could. Absolutely moving, informative and even humorous at times I finished ‘El Aguila’ in less than four hours.Concise and to the point, this story could have been longer, but nevertheless it turned out perfectly. In an amazing way the author was able to capture every aspect of the Colombia drug takeover, without subjecting the reader to too much detail. Having experienced firsthand the consequences of big corporations destroying the livelihood of small businesses, I was able to relate to the cafeteros. This story gives a human face to the stories that we have heard and the historical information that we have been exposed to about Colombia. The result of reading this story was that I can now empathise and comprehend fully the reason why so many Colombians turned to the cocaine trade. It was a matter of survival not a matter of greed. I recommend this book to every age group, enjoy. – Valerie D W Flavien
A brutal and powerful novel that will get under your skin and change the way you look at immigration, poverty and the third world. A must read for anyone with a heart and soul. Highly recommended. – Robert Margolis
Call me stupid, but I really did not understand the horror of the politics in Colombia to the every day coffee farmer or his everyday laborer until I read James Weil’s “El Aguila.” The book really reels you in. I read the whole thing in one 4-hour sitting. I could not put it down. It changed me forever. This eloquent novel is incredibly well researched. I found that out from the Colombian immigrant that manages the property I am moving on to (a 26 acre farm). I asked him if any of his family had been caught up in this. He told me that he had lost all of them. I was heartbroken and gave him a hug. I knew I could never return his losses. They are too many to count. This book should be required reading for high school and college Social Studies students. It is not only a very well written piece of literature; it is also an excellent description of how complex the issues are. The everyday person of Colombia could do nothing, in my opinion, to survive this situation. They have NO WHERE to live the honest hard working life they yearn for. When you read it, you will see what I mean. Your view of illegal immigrants will be forever changed, and you will wonder why your government did not tell you honestly what the situation was when you were a young person. I don’t know about your friends, but all the people I partied with would have boycotted cocaine and started a company selling coffee for higher prices to help the good Colombian people retake their land and live a good, honest life. Seriously, if you are not Colombian, you can not understand the issues in Colombia unless you read this book. It should be required reading. – Heather Akridge
What a journey James takes you on. From page one to the finish your are transported into the Colombian countryside. The characters are very well developed and the story flows seamlessly. You will be transfixed as the story unfolds. Thanks for writing such a terrific book. – Sandra Thomas
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El Aguila, a short, fast-moving novel, plumbs the depths of the Colombian tragedy.
Weil’s work of historical fiction brings the verities of the “war on drugs” to the reader. The book focuses on the little understood story of the Cafeteros de Colombia, and their desperate struggle to survive death and destruction, and preserve their honest way of life.
The characters are as authentic as Steinbeck’s in the Grapes of Wrath. The dramatic lead belongs to María Suárez, the daughter of Jair, the Cafetero, and his wife, Señora Suárez. Jair works for Señor Fernandez, the owner of the finca. Marisel is María’s best friend.
El Aguila’s endearing, simple, hardworking cafetero family, from the mountains of Colombia, become caught up in producing small quantities of coca to offset their deep financial loses growing high-quality coffee for the world market. The market price for quality coffee has crashed. The cartels squeeze them, the drug warriors of the Colombian Military murder them, and the guerillas of the FARC betray them.
Weil is a master storyteller. It is impossible to set El Aguila down. This applies as well to Mr. Weil’s other great work of fiction, Swiss Chocolate. In his capable hands and swift storytelling, the principal actors of this drama play out their lives and roles.
Weil deeply penetrates the Colombian countryside and its small and medium-sized villages and towns. The Cafeteros, as a class, are doomed. Their local economy will be uprooted, their families shattered, their hopes crushed by the inexorable march of the gangsters, the Military, and the “war on drugs.”
El Aguila is as authentic as it can get. A breakthrough in historical fiction. I highly recommend this work. ~ Lawrence Gulotta
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A factory laborer destroys the machine he works on after finding out he is a cog in the instrument of war. One of my earliest stories, The War Machine won second place in a short story contest at Mesa College in San Diego in 1987. It was published in two places: Inword Journal and The Mesa Press; March 9, 1987. The restriction was 2,000 words.
James M. Weil
Permanent link to this article: http://jamesweil.com/the-war-machine/
A nostalgic look at a high school summer romance from the point of view of an abused young man, whose upbringing prevents him from expressing his true feelings to the young girl he loves with all his heart. A painful, touching story of what happens to us when all we know is abuse and neglect.
James M. Weil
Permanent link to this article: http://jamesweil.com/the-last-summer/
A writer decides to take up salsa and falls for his temperamental dance teacher, leaving him wondering whether he is actually in love, or simply infatuated with the idea of being in love. A somewhat comedic look at the foibles of two artists, struggling with their demons as they dance their way through a myriad of nuances and mixed signals.
James M. Weil
Permanent link to this article: http://jamesweil.com/the-dance-teacher/
A misguided, middle-aged man deals with the heartbreak of losing the love of his life, his job, his marriage, and ultimately his loss of self. A painful, brutally honest dissection of a man on the edge and what he will do to win back his identity, even though he is sitting on a house of cards.
James M. Weil
Permanent link to this article: http://jamesweil.com/turpitude-bad-financing/
I originally wrote Harmony House when I was eighteen-years-old in 1977. Over the years I must have submitted the story to more than 250 literary journals and magazines. I got scores of snotty rejections from editors who took my writing as a deep form of effrontery. Some of them told me the story was vulgar and my use of language was completely unacceptable. I was years ahead of my time.
Funny after all these years Harmony House won first place in Dailey Swan Publishing’s 2011 Short Story Contest. Hundreds of stories were submitted from all across the country. The top forty were chosen and posted on Dailey Swan Publishing’s website and scribd.com. The winners were decided by reader choice.
James M. Weil
Permanent link to this article: http://jamesweil.com/harmony-house/