Archive | December, 2013

Van has finished reading…Light Of Day by Graham Swift

19 Dec

Is it what we know that traps us, or drives us, or what we don’t? It’s the trouble with keeping something from someone: you become a slave to the knowledge, more so than that person in their ignorance of it (blissful or otherwise). And of course in the world of a private detective it’s the matrimonial work that dominates. But this is what it all comes down to: It’s the shades of knowledge, and the lack of freedom those boundaries impose that shape the way we live.

  It’s a lesson in relevance from a writer’s point of view. The telling of a lifetime in the space of a day necessarily touches only on what reflects, highlights or impacts the main thread of the story. The layering of moments reinforces that relevance, and acts like a ratchet on the tension too. Small wonder that a man whose livelihood is darkness and shadows longs ultimately for a crisp, cloudless November sky and the titular clear light of day.

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Van has finished reading…The Dark Forest by Hugh Walpole

5 Dec

I love this book. Just to see the cover of it makes me smile. It’s ninety seven years old – the inscription inside tells me so. The covers are plain board, green, and feel and smell just like any well-kept old book: that dusty musk of the leisurely hour. But there’s something else. On my copy there are sunflowers- three to be exact. They have twining, leafy stems that curl in on each other, and beautiful yellow flower heads. You might not realise if you see it from a distance but they’re painted on. As with the inscription, they were added to make this special thing that little bit more special. The book has become an object beyond a simple book. It has now a story of its own. As a reader I feel that a story, once it leaves my hands, leaves a part of itself within so that the writer is somehow brought a little closer (the characters, the plot, the premise came, after all, from that particular imagination). As a writer too, I’m aware of that sense of connection when something I’ve produced sparks a comment or discussion with a reader. These connections are precious things. Stories are precious, and so e-readers of every description are precious in their own way. But when you hold an e-reader you hold a device. I prefer the feel of a book. To me e-readers are homogenous. Novels on e-readers resist being personalised. They will never be the true statement, the act of carefully and painstakingly and beautifully wrapping a gift for a loved one that is a book. This book has all those things, and will be cherished as something special.

 

And I liked the story too!