If my smile in this photograph seems slightly strained, it might not be only because I’m not sure if the self-timer on Mr A’s camera is going to work. You see, although last year was wonderful in that Inspired Quill published my third book and first short story collection, it was also the year it came home to me how hard it is to get readers, irrespective of the quality of the book. It’s hard for everyone, unless you’re a celebrity, are writing a series or have won a major prize; so should I make those my writing goals for the year to come?
Fictional writers can be tricky on the page; sometimes I suspect a character’s assigned the job because the author’s unfamiliar with more run-of-the-mill kinds of work. But, like anything else that’s slightly iffy, if you’re going to go for it, it’s best to go for it big time. That’s what Irish writer John Boyne does with his larger-than-life antihero Maurice Swift and American Andrew Sean Greer with “failed novelist” Arthur Less, both simultaneously managing to address the wider issues of human vanity and what constitutes a well-lived life.
I couldn’t resist pairing these recently published, unconventionally structured, debut novels about relationships: their intriguing one-word titles are almost interchangeable, with Alice in Asymmetry magnetically drawn to (and later repulsed by) her much older lover and the mother-daughter relationship explored in Magnetism inherently asymmetrical. My reading experience of both was mixed, strongly engaging with the second halves significantly more than the first. See what you think.
Annecdotal is where real life brushes up against the fictional.
Annecdotist is the blogging persona of Anne Goodwin:
slug-slayer, tramper of moors,
author of two novels.
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