Sunday, February 05, 2006

From 'The Book Thief' I launched back into crime fiction with the new Val McDermid. She is usually a bit gory, with interesting characters (such as Tony Hill, the odd psychologist from 'Wire in the Blood') but this one 'The Grave Tattoo' is very tame. It's about William Wordsworth (yes, the poet) and his connection to Fletcher Christian from the mutiny on the Bounty. Of course, murders do eventually start happening, but not until halfway through the book, and the main character is a bit ordinary.
This books also treads the same ground that 'The da Vinci Code' and the latest Kathy Reichs books do - where the author takes a religious (or in McDermid's case) a literary/historical mystery and uses it as the basis for the story and why people keep getting murdered. McDermid includes the transcript of what really happened on the Bounty and afterwards (supposedly as told to Wordsworth by Christian) and thus plays with creating 'new history'.
I think I must be one of the few readers in the world who find it really irritating not knowing where facts end and the author's fiction begins. I end up assuming that the whole thing is fiction, yet McDermid includes a bibliography at the back. Does this mean she researched it enough to 'fake it'? I can only assume so.
Maybe the fact that I have been writing a historical novel for 8 years and have taken great care in trying to get my details correct makes me biased. And what is true anyway? The outcry over James Frey has been interesting. Are people upset because he lied in his book? Or because he lied about it being true? There is a line there between those two things, however faint.
I continue on with short story reading for class. Trying without success to track down an Alice Munro story where the main character stops during a long road trip and climbs the fence for a swim in a closed public swimming pool. I figure if I remember the story after 3-4 years, it must have been a good one.
No writing this week much. Life has been consumed by totally ridiculous council regulations and how to comply without busting a boiler.
Jane Yolen's journal has been so sad lately. Her husband has a recurrence of cancer and she writes about the daily small battles, while she continues to try and write. Today she said that for the first time, she has no urge to write. This is a woman who has over 300 books published. Her journal is a privilege to read.

No comments: