Like landmarks to a treasure

Tuesday, 25 February 2014


Right, that's at least 38 words today. 
Six more and I can lie down with a box of violet creams, a pint of amaretto and an oiled Liam Neeson. 
Result.


Like most literate sentient beings, I fell madly into The Secret History.  I adored its quirky characters, deft and mysterious happenings, intelligent, crisp prose and the elliptical, swooping tale which made me long to know Latin and wear dead men's coats in a freezing New England winter.

Also by the stunningly talented Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch has made my year for two reasons.

I have devoured it both on kindle and on audiobook as I have driven our ancient creaking Jeep for many hours this winter.  Through rain so hard that the wipers were a frenzied blur, and wind that walloped the old beast with a sideways, spiteful kick.

The talented David Pittu imbues the wonderful voice of James Hobart with a patina he himself would have stroked. Boris and Theo have stayed in my ear and heart for weeks afterwards.  If you haven't yet immersed yourself in this fabulous wringing mangle of a book, make it your solemn duty to do so soon.

If you regret it, I will come round and clean out the cupboard under your sink and leave flapjacks.

The second reason?  She took 10 years to write it.

Not that I will ever produce anything like that, but I take great heart from her glacial speed. And since Mary Wesley didn't crank anything out until she was 70, I reckon that's plenty of time to keep polishing and honing, singing on mountains and falling into sudden, deep ravines of self-doubt and despair.

Those kind souls still here, I am so grateful.  The short stories are undergoing a final revision and the novel is about a third completed. I went on a course run by a Very Successful Editor and had a comprehensive kick up the arse.

In the meantime, the cars swish by my writing lair, where I need a lamp on all day, spend silly numbers of hours brewing the perfect coffee and contemplating the astonishing number of shoes generated by only eight feet. And eating flapjacks.

10 comments:

  1. I can hardly wait to read more of your work. And thanks for the recommendations. Had to laugh at the offer to clean under my sink. My grown son actually did this for me last time he was home. I asked him who he was, and what had he done with my son?

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    1. Thank you! Please tell me your grown son has emerged from a chrysalis of grunting muck?

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  2. Donna Tartt or not, I love your writing. I already have The Goldfinch on kindle all ready to go, so no need to wash under the cupboards here, but on your next visit to NY, you can always come by for a visit.

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    1. Stephanie, it's a date! My whole family are in love with NYC and desperate to come back. Enjoy the Goldfinch, I am beyond jealous that you can listen to it wandering around New York...

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  3. I will have to get those books queued up! Thanks for the recommendations! (** psssst . . . I can't wait for the publication of the short stories and novel by a certain blogger I follow! Her blog posts are always highly entertaining! ;) **)

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    1. Lovely Willow, thank you so much!

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  4. an oiled Liam Neeson! You are too funny! Believe it or not, a well respected member of my book group could not place him. Fortunately the movie started (we do a movie one month, a real book the next).

    New England winters are anything but romantic regardless of your outerwear, and no one remembers their Latin.

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    1. Hello! I could make a very vulgar crack about placing Liam Neeson but am attempting to give up smut along with chocolate. One is going better than the other..

      Your book group sound brilliant, am very jealous.

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  5. Recently finished The Goldfinch and loved it...also read The Secret History. A friend wrote to say she had to give up on them, needing something lighter for bedtime reading. Sleep?..come to think of it, I think I skipped a night or two. Well worth it.

    Enjoyed the idea of your writing lair under a warm glow and eight pairs of feet..and countless shoes. Once we were 12 pairs of feet and more baskets of shoes than I could count. Now we are four feet..empty nester feet. And I am still counting baskets, I guess it WAS me after all. ;)

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    1. Jeanne - that's not good news about the blimming shoes now is it?

      I had to try very hard indeed to remember that I lived here and not in that glorious book.

      All I want for Christmas is Hobie.

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