Archives for relationships

Book review: The Only Story

I seem to be developing a Marmite relationship with Julian Barnes. I loved his early work and The Sense of an Ending, but had difficulty with his last novel The Noise of Time. So I approached The Only Story with trepidation. My stomach sank as I read the first page. The first paragraph poses a question: ‘Would you rather love the more, and suffer the more; or love the less, and suffer the less? That is, I think, finally, the only real question.” A pertinent question to which each of us has our own private answer. My difficulty with the first few pages is the lack of characterization; because it is told in the first person, we do not know who is speaking, there is no context. That of course comes later, and a few pages in its starts to warm up with the description of a tennis match. But ultimately I could not shake the perception that it was Julian Barnes the man speaking, not a fictional character, in the way American authors such as Wolfe and Roth seem to become characters in their own novels. But this is a lesson in patience. I read on and the story started
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Categories: Book Love.

‘Ignoring Gravity’ & the literary sisterhood

Creating the characters of Rose and Lily in Ignoring Gravity, made me ponder the subject of literary sisterhood. I had to sit and think quietly for a while before I came up with a list of novels about sisters. Beyond Austen, who of course crams every book with sisters. Elinor and Marianne. Elizabeth and Jane. The one book where the main character has no sister, Emma, is about the nature of sisterhood. Emma, is the ultimate big sister, she is organising, controlling and superior, and for the lack of a sister she gets to interfere in the life of Harriet Smith. I never liked Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma, who in my head is definitely a brunette. I much preferred Kate Beckinsale [below] in the 1996 television series. Why sisters? Well there are two pairs of sisters in Ignoring Gravity, a generation apart. Diana and Kate Ingram. Rose and Lily Haldane. Alike as chalk and cheese, they do not fit the fluffy profile of sisters who live in each other’s pockets, who are in and out of each others’ houses all the time, who tell their exciting news first to their sister rather than their husband. So when things go wrong for
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Categories: Book Love, My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity' and On Writing.