Maggie is a discouraged lawyer, Dillon, a heart-broken vagabond, and Phillip, a frustrated writer. Their stories are told by the mysterious Jillian, part purveyor of spirits and part spiritual guru. Inside the walls of cafe rembrandt, where whipping fresh cream is an act of poetry and pouring a drink an act of faith, we fall under Jillian’s spell. With a voice that is lyrical and immediate, she artfully trails her Ariadne thread to lead her devotees back into the light.
Waking Up at Rembrandt’s is a fresh take on the tale of awakenings. It celebrates the sensual, as well as the spiritual, effortlessly bridging the two worlds.
Waking Up at Rembrandt’s stands out in the literary marketplace because it is a tale told in part by poems. These poems. Each of which were born of the novel. In a sense, they are one part abridged version and one part magic of their own.
Part of the beauty of love jaywalks lies not in its origins, as poems from the novel, but in these poems’ ability to stand alone from the novel and to tell their own story.
Rembrandt, the master, believed there was light in all things. The novel, Waking Up at Rembrandt’s, is a story set in a cafe and told by a female bartender who is part purveyor of spirits and part spiritual guru. It is a story of three people finding their voices and learning that everything is on its way to somewhere else. It is a story about finding your voice. About bridging the worlds of light and dark, spirit and senses, dreaming and waking. Like the work of the master painter for whom the cafe is named, the story is about finding the light in all things.
Whether they are about love, art, or words, these poems from the novel pay homage to the old master, affirming the light in all things, including the dark.
Author Thomas Lloyd Qualls combines prose and poetry, fiction and spirituality, and dreams and reality in a manner that is at once unconventional and irresistible. Blending the epicurean delights of Peter Mayle, the travel adventures of Hemingway, the spiritual teachings of Krishnamurti, and the magical realism of Isabel Allende, Waking Up at Rembrandt’s takes literary fiction into new territory.
Thomas Lloyd Qualls lives and writes in the high desert beauty of Northern Nevada. He is the author of one and a half novels, a traveler of Europe, India & Thailand, the recipient of three Best Novelist awards, and a regular contributor to Rebelle Society and Reno Tahoe Tonight Magazine.
Waking Up at Rembrandt’s, his debut novel, has received local and national critical acclaim. He is also the proud co-creator of the The Power of Words Video Project.
Thomas is currently at work on the other half of his second novel, Painted Oxen. In his spare time, he rides his bike, pretends he is still the runner he once was, attempts to corral his four-year old, massages his partner’s feet (those belonging to children’s author Lynell Marie Garfield), redraws the line between enough and a little too much (espresso, wine, dark chocolate, words), works up the courage to paint, and dreams of adding more stamps to his passport.
If you are curious to know more, just keep reading what he writes. He invites you to visit his website whenever you like. www.tlqonline.com
Waking Up At Rembrandt’s is an impressive debut novel showcasing an undeniably talented and imaginative author… The text is lyrical and engaging from beginning to end as author Thomas Lloyd Qualls demonstrates an ability to paint with words the way Rembrandt was noted to paint with pigments. “Waking Up At Rembrandt’s” is highly recommended reading and will leave the readers looking eagerly towards the author’s next literary project. ~Midwest Book Review
Reno novelist Thomas Lloyd Qualls is a psychonaut. His luminous debut novel, Waking Up at Rembrandt’s, strikes literary gold, mining the depths of his character’s complex interior landscapes through an unlikely amalgam of poetry, prose and spirituality… The immediacy evoked by [the author’s] use of second person narration acts as connective tissue binding the reader to the plot lines… reminiscent of David Foster Wallace… ~Reno Passport
Thomas Lloyd Qualls is a writer of great sensitivity, passion and spirituality. His first novel — Waking Up At Rembrandt’s — is an exquisite blend of fiction and poetry. He brings his characters to life as he takes them out of Rembrandt’s Café into the greater world, lets them have their adventures, then brings them back enlightened. He breaks all the rules, but makes it work. It’s a good read; I heartily recommend it. ~Carol Purroy, TV Producer/Host, AUTHOR! AUTHOR!
Waking up at Rembrandt’s is an artful weave of metaphysical storyline with poetry; of awakenings and raw themes. It is not to be missed. ~Elle Marie Garfield, children’s author / Owner, Integrated Balance Solutions
Dipping a toe into this work is pretty much impossible; once you open it, you get drawn in and it doesn’t let you go. The range of creative effort on display here is a bit breathtaking…a skilled writer with an appealing way with words. This story is well worth sharing. -Writer’s Digest
Best Novelist Honors, Reno News & Review, Best of Northern Nevada — 2008, 2009, and 2010
cover art by Kelly Peyton, cover rescue by Brandon Swann