I have recently emerged from reading Mari Biella's scary, ghostly and disturbing novel: "THE QUICKENING". I'm usually a slow reader, with an uncomfortable tendency to abandon a book and come back to it later - 'later', in this context, meaning anything from days to weeks. Ruth Rendell, however, with her psychological intricacies and insights into the nastier side of humanity, has always grabbed me by the throat, and once 'into' a Ruth Rendell novel, I don't emerge until I've seen it through, although there have been a few exceptions. THE QUICKENING grabbed me in precisely the same way. I found myself deeply involved with the tragic protagonist, but also with the strange, flat landscape of the Fens (note to self - must go there one day) and the wild and unsettling weather, both of which form the vivid backdrop to this story. I don't often write reviews, but this book impressed me, so thank you, Mari.
On the right (I hope) is the cover image of "WOLFSONG"amazon.co.uk/dp/B00846FYX0, my Y/A novel first published by Walker Books and now long out of print. I'm reluctant to post this image on my Facebook page: "Enid Richemont Children's Author", because it's a bit too explicit. It was actually painted, in oils, by the now deceased Canadian artist, Richard Parent, and I got to see the original at Walker, which was rather wonderful - the only one of my many book cover images that was an actual painting.
I'm mentioned this, not only as a small bit of publicity for the ebook - there is so much story behind this novel - but because I've recently been talked, by a writer friend, into having my first adult novel, "COUNTERPOINT", written on a typewriter all those years ago, professionally scanned, edited, re-typed and sent to my computer. This was a book written with a passion I've never experienced since. It's awkward, highly personal, very much a 'first novel', has many typos, and when it was written I didn't give a damn whether it was published or not because it felt so important to me at the time and I was so lost in the writing of it that sometimes I didn't know where I was. It was like being drugged.
Now, so very many years later, I don't quite know what to do with it. The world has changed a lot since then, so its subject matter is no longer current. I've been playing with ideas of framing it inside contemporary dialogue between the children in the plot, now adult and perhaps even approaching early middle-age, and then actually assigning a date to the main narrative, like an historical document. Comments, on this issue, are very welcome, as are any thoughts on 'dated' mss, and especially ones re- technology - should we introduce phones/ipads into works written before they existed? This question, of course, relates particularly to children's and Young Adult works
Tomorrow I may, or may not (depending on the weather and my own strength) be attending a curious, and secret, meeting in Covent Garden, its subject matter being the right to choose the time and nature of one's own death. We are, very slowly, bringing this previously shrouded subject into the open, with Death Cafes are springing up everywhere. Interestingly, it seems to me that the USA lags a bit behind in this, although it is, and always has been, in the forefront of death commerce (when we lived in California and I was pregnant with my daughter, we were bombarded with leaflets for funeral plans, which used to make us giggle). However, one of my favourite picture books had the 'D' concept removed by US publishers - too disturbing for under-fives - thus undermining the whole narrative (and this from a country with serious gun control problems, but don't get me started on that one). Young children are as curious about death as they are about everything.