Thursday, October 23, 2008

Reviews, books and pirates

Was thrilled to see a lovely mention of Maloney's Law on the Writing and All That site today, which you can see here. (It's the second book down in the Spread The Word list). Many thanks indeed, Caro - so glad you liked Maloney. And thank you for the mention of The Bones of Summer too! I particularly enjoyed her comment on Paul's taste in whisky and men - very true indeed. Though I must admit to having a soft spot for Dominic nonetheless ...

I've managed to forge a little way ahead with Hallsfoot's Battle as well and it now stands at just over 49,000 words. Events have taken an unexpected turn in the Gathandrian Library, but I liked what I was writing so I've kept it in. It adds tension anyway - and no writer can afford to turn tension away if it comes knocking. At least not in books. I'll be interested to see how it turns out. Honestly, sometimes that keyboard thinks its own thoughts, I swear it. My control over the writing process remains meagre. As you can see.

And still on the subject of books, I've nobly battled my way to the end of Lynne Truss's quite dreadful novel, Tennyson's Gift. The quote on the front of my copy tells me it's "gloriously funny ... a laugh-aloud book to cheer the darkest hour" - a statement by Joan Bakewell, no less. Well, I'm not sure what book the great Joan was reading when she said that, but it sure as hell wasn't this one. Still, it probably remains a work of great distinction in that it includes Tennyson, Dodgson, Watts, Ellen Terry and the marvellous Julia Margaret Cameron all in one book and still strives to make it as dull as ditchwater and as clunky as hell. Astonishing really. None of the characters as depicted by Truss have any degree of charm. In fact they're all horrid. My dears, it's hugely exhausting simply turning the pages (whilst groaning of course). I have never felt so happy to reach the final pages. The only reason I did in fact carry on was that I love all the real-life people included and felt some kind of obligation to accompany their journey of pain in this book to the end. Tennyson, Dodgson, Watts, Terry, Cameron and I have all survived the experience and can now (thank the Lord) get back to who we all really are. Lord H has also nobly battled through it (what a hero!) and suggested that the problem is that it's not really a novel at all - or it's a novel by someone who doesn't know how to write one - but in fact it's trying desperately to be a screenplay. If you had the right actors, it could be quite good. It might even be funny. But in Truss's novel, it's not. Lord H also suggested that, if the great Oscar Wilde was alive, he should be given the book in order to rewrite it as a play. That would certainly work! My advice is ignore it and go straight to the Greats portrayed within it directly. You'll be much happier that way. However, I can say that the grammar is good ...

It's also been a gloriously blustery afternoon - watching the leaves swirling about outside my window has been fabulous. From yesterday's winter, we now have autumn again. Lovely.

Tonight, we're off to see Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance at Haslemere Hall, so I'm already polishing up my scimitar and preparing my catlike tread. There's nothing like a good G&S to put a smile on one's face, you know!

Today's nice things:

1. The Maloney review
2. Autumn leaves
3. Ruth's show.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website - guaranteed Truss-free ...


Jilly said...

I tried Tennyson's Gift some years ago and could quite see why it was in a remainder shop! Yet 'Eats Shoots and Leaves' is excellent. I also heard a really spine chilling short play of hers on radio once so she's obviously a very uneven writer.

Anne Brooke said...

That's interesting. Maybe she's just more of a radio/play writer? That might make sense!



Anonymous said...

I also read Tennyson's Gift years ago, and got to the end okay and only wish I could remember anything about it. I'm sure I read it because of Julia Margaret Cameron who I became all interested in when writing about portrait photography many years ago. Hope Pirates is lovely, too.

Anne Brooke said...

You're a better woman than I am for sure, LL! And Cameron is great - one of Lord H's favourite photographers ever!