It’s been a quiet last few weeks but that means I’ve been able to get plenty of writing done and have already reached the 200 page mark. The book and the story have been growing in all directions and to have generated a life of its own. What started life in my mind as a small children’s book with several illustrations has now become something more complex, darker and yet far more interesting. That’s the great thing about writing; you never quite know where a story is going to take you until you put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard). I still hope to have the first draft done by Christmas but what with visits from family and New York looming that might be a tall order.
The other good thing about it being so quiet is that I’ve managed to knock a few books off the reading pile.
In the Night Room – Thinner than ‘The Black House’ and having lost his writing partner this is Peter Straub’s work that deals with some of the same themes. In the novel Willy Patrick’s life has become a dream come true, she has just won a prestigious writing award and is about to marry a handsome rich man, following the murder of her first husband and daughter. But problems arise because Willy starts to hear her daughter calling for her in the night.
At the same time Tim Underhill, another writer is haunted by the death of his sister many years earlier and he has started to receive emails from people who should be dead. Then he meets Willy Patrick, which is strange because she is the character he has created for his new novel.
The idea of writing and the relationship a writer has with his creations has been done before, but Straub colours it dark and mysterious. His writing style is quick and furious, and though the story takes several pages to get going it’s a thrill of a ride, where even the reader is unsure as to what is real and what is not. He also uses some excellent typography devices within the structure of the novel.
The Big Over Easy – I haven’t read a Jasper Fforde for several years but once again he had taken something that at first sounds ill suited to a novel and turned it on its head with hilarious results.
Nursery celebrity Humpty Stuyesant Van Dumpty III, is found shattered at the foot of his wall with all evidence pointing at his ex-wife. Detective Jack Spratt and his new assistant are not so sure she’s responsible and start to investigate while getting on the nerves of the rest of the Reading Police Department.
Many authors have tried to ape (Orangutan-ed?) Pratchett’s satirical style and nearly always failed. Fforde manages something similar but retains his own voice, ideas and humour.
Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War – What a fantasy novel should be. No rehashing of old ideas or treading the ground of all that has gone before, but an original and entertainingly dark world created to exist alongside our own. This is book 2 and Candy Quackenbush’s (great name) adventures continue in the Abarat, a world made up of many islands, each stuck at an hour of the day. Christopher Carrion, has sent his henchmen to capture her, but why? Why are they so concerned about a girl from Chickentown and what hill happen when the world she comes from learns about the existence of Abarat. Also the book is wonderfully illustrated in Barker’s bold style. If you can make sure you get a hard back copy.
My only other request this week is that if you get the chance click on the below link and help feed the world.
Even if they don’t hold true to their statement, you’ll learn lots of nice new words so that you can hold your own when next in conversation with Stephen Fry.
Read this week:
In the Night Room by Peter Straub
The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde
Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War by Clive Barker