Posts tagged novels

Calling all unpublished novelists: here’s your break!

In February 2008, I was in despair. I’d given up a good job as a reporter at The Wall Street Journal in New York to pursue my dream of writing fiction, and all I had to show for it was a stack of rejection slips. Exactly a year later, I was standing outside a branch of Borders in Islington, looking at dozens of copies of my debut novel neatly stacked up in the window display. What happened? The Luke Bitmead Bursary happened. The bursary was set up in honour of… Read More

“Aspects of the Novel” by E.M. Forster

I read this book a couple of years ago now, before I had this blog. As I was clearing out stuff this weekend I came across my handwritten notes, stuffed into the bottom of a box where I would never have read them again. This is why I started blogging. I’m typing the notes up so that I have a record of the book that I can access easily, and so that I have one less piece of paper cluttering up my flat. It’s not going to be a well-shaped… Read More

British “state of the nation” novels

One of my fellow Legend Press authors, Mark Piggott, wrote an interesting article in the Independent about ‘state of the nation’ novels. I thought it would be complaining that nobody’s writing about contemporary British issues these days – there’s been quite a bit of that recently, because historical novels have been getting a lot of the awards and attention lately. But he takes a more interesting line, noting that historical novels have been getting the attention, but pointing out the wealth of books tackling contemporary issues (of which mine is… Read More

“An Artist of the Floating World” by Kazuo Ishiguro

An elderly, celebrated artist, Masuji Ono, is living in retirement in Japan just after the end of World War Two. His daughter is having trouble in her marriage negotiations for reasons he can’t understand: gradually he realises it’s because he is associated with the rise of Japanese militarism in the 1930s, a period now discredited and blamed for bringing disaster on the country. The theme of the book is the role of the artist in the world, and this is what old Masuji Ono gradually explores. As with many of… Read More

“A Pale View of Hills” by Kazuo Ishiguro

Most of this novel is memory: a woman thinking about her daughter’s suicide and remembering an earlier summer in post-War Nagasaki. Almost nothing happens in the present day. The whole story of A Pale View of Hills takes place in the past. And the story in the past is full of holes. At first this annoyed me but, the more I thought about it, the more I realised how true this is to the story as the woman would have thought about it. Not only are our memories full of… Read More