Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Reviews, Shortlists Etc

Many congratulations to my fellow MNW author, Eliza Graham for getting her novel Playing with the Moon on to the shortlist of World Book day’s Books to Talk About – books which reading groups would enjoy reading. I voted for her as I’m sure readers’ groups would enjoy it – in fact I shall prove it by getting my reader’s group to read it when it’s my pick next.

I was going to do a review of it anyway, after its success, but a) I’d need to re-read it as anything I read more than a month ago is so hazy in my mind (no matter how impressed I was with it) that I couldn’t possibly offer more than a comment on whether, or how much, I enjoyed it and b) it’ll be a more interesting review if I put in the other readers’ comments. Despite the fact that my fellow groupers keep waiting for me to say interesting, insightful and erudite things they usually have a great deal more of all three to say than me.

Reviews are definitely the flavour of the day here chez Bizarre. I’ve just been sent a bound manuscript (funny how we all still use manuscript when in fact they’re typescripts now) copy of The Suicide Shop after Scott Pack over at Me and My Big Mouth offered ten to the first readers to ask, on the condition that we would blog about the book if we enjoyed it. I’m thirty or so pages in and racing away because it has incredibly short chapters. Actually, as it’s a v. short book it would look silly with long chapters – it would only have about four.

Will I enjoy it? Not sure yet as it’s slightly to the right of The Adams Family and the Little Shop of Horrors in both tone and content but as an idea it’s very interesting. It’s always said that good, happy people are just basically not very interesting in books or, alternatively, come across as unbelievable but Jean Teule (the book is translated from French by Sue Dyson, aka novelist Zoe Barnes) manages to bring a whole new light to the dilemma by making everybody else in the book so professionally black and miserable that little Alan (all the Tuvache children are named after famous suicides, you’ll have to guess who Alan is) is a very welcome ray of sunshine: He manages to be interesting because joie de vivre is so unlikely in this household and, as to his believability, well, put it this way, Teule has placed him in a family which sells suicide in the way that other shops sell knickers. We’re not in Believabilityville here.

I’ll blog about it some more if I decide, on finishing, that I enjoyed it, or – the other criterion for bigging up a book – admired it.

I know, you just can’t wait, can you…?


Eliza Graham said...

Thanks for your support, Alis!

Alis said...

Hi Eliza - you're entirely welcome!