Friday, April 16, 2004

Madly trying to read more and more as time runs out and I am back to work sooner than I want to be. That's my dream life I guess - free to read and ponder and write and do what I want all day every day.
Amazing how when I have all these days to myself that I even manage to start sending things out again. When work takes over, all the little extras (and sometimes those extras are what get you published - the perseverance part) get pushed aside.
Finished "Lucas" by Kevin Brooks - a UK author. The story is set on an island, the narration is first person. It provoked an interesting conversation with a writer friend this week about when does first person voice NOT work. At times in this book I felt it was too explanatory. The voice that tells the story - looking back and using the storytelling as a cathartic thing - does a little too much of the "if only I'd known that this would be..." It becomes annoying. You feel like you just want to read the story, thanks, so quit reminding me that it will all end in disaster. Overall I liked the book. The whole idea of an island being an enclosed community that could go feral if given the right circumstances ... hmmm. Felt a little contrived but maybe I am just being way too picky.
Also read "Thamberoo" by Jane Carroll last night - Australian. A good story, well done, not as complex as Lucas in terms of what the author was trying to do but it still was very readable. I liked the main character and could identify with the need to have a place of your own that's special. I wasn't very convinced about the father's redemption - in fact the author may have done too good a job of portraying him and the reality of family abuse! This one was in third person. Raised the whole issue again of how to make third person feel close to the reader. I think she does it well.
How to do it better myself is the big challenge.
After having read YA fiction almost non-stop (thanks to the local libraries) I am now tackling "Lighthousekeeping" by Jeanette Winterson. Time to move back to adult fiction for a while (although I did finish the last few stories in Best American Short Stories 2003 in the past 2 days). So far I'm finding the language very musical. The style and the voice remind me of someone else - Annie Proulx? Joan Clark? The story is the whimsical, almost magic realist kind. Interesting contrast to recent reading.

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