The Observatory is a vel about political commitment and liberation. Set in 1968, it reflects the high season of Guevara in Bolivia, and the attempts to insert a revolutionary 'foco' in places where objective conditions are politically ripe, but where the subjective element, and the most rudimentary organisation, are absent. Guerilla intellectuals, loaded with visionary enthusiasm, arrive like space travellers, igniting the revolutionary straw and engaging armies, but too respectful to damage the traditions and culture of those who are to be liberated ...
John Fraser is the author of 18 works of literary and speculative fiction. He has lived in Rome since 1980. Previously he worked in England and Canada. The distinguished poet, novelist and Booker Prize nominee John Fuller has written of Fraser's fiction:
One of the most extraordinary publishing events of the past few years has been the rapid, indeed insistent, appearance of the novels of John Fraser. There are few parallels in literary history to this almost simultaneous and largely belated appearance of a mature oeuvre, sprung like Athena from Zeus's forehead; and the novels in themselves are extraordinary. I can think of nothing much like them in fiction. Fraser maintains a masterfully ironic distance from the extreme conditions in which his characters find themselves. There are strikingly beautiful descriptions, veiled allusions to rooted traditions, unlikely events half-glimpsed, abrupted narratives, surreal but somehow apposite social customs. Fraser's work is conceived on a heroic scale in terms both of its ideas and its situational metaphors. If he were to be filmed, it would need the combined talents of a Bunuel, a Gilliam, a Cameron. Like Thomas Pynchon, whom in some ways he resembles, Fraser is a deep and serious fantasist, wildly inventive. The reader rides as on a switchback or luge of impetuous attention, with effects flashing by at virtuoso speeds. The characters seem to be unwitting agents of chaos, however much wise reflection the author bestows upon them. They move with shrugging self-assurance through circumstances as richly-detailed and as without reliable compass-points as a Chinese scroll.