Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Home Chat

Oh what bliss. I’m sitting here in blazing sunshine, editing copy on a laptop, with the cat stretched out on the table next to me, clean washing undulating gently on the line, and Sasha in a pushchair gurgling and squawking happily and pushing brightly coloured toys back and forth (the pink and turquoise Tinylove monkey is a creature of nightmare, I feel, but presumably they tested it and found that babies didn’t mind it).

We’re just back from a long weekend in Italy, where the weather was just as good but it wasn’t home… the only blots on the horizon, almost literally, are the seven enormous molehills in the lawn -- and the two audacious ones in the herb garden. These aren’t tiny picturesque mounds left by the black velvet gentlemen -- they’re gigantic, almost frightening. They are also working their way steadily towards the house. If they’d only go in the opposite direction, they’d be in the grounds of Sawston Hall (yes, we abut a stately home) and nobody would give them any bother. Not that I’ve done much more than jump up and down impotently raging. Bastards.

I’ve just finished reading ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’. Thoroughly enjoyed it -- it was actually very pleasant to read a book that simply set up a situation and then followed it through. I thought there might be a tiresome twist in the tale that would end by making the whole thing less credible. This may be because I’ve just reread a novel by Christopher Priest, ‘The Glamour’, which has exactly one of those tricksy mucking-about-with-the-narrative-voice denouements. In Priest’s case, though, I haven’t read a single one of his books that doesn’t do exactly the same. He likes to switch back and forth until he reckons he’s got you confused. The snag is, I often feel that he’s more confused than I am -- or at least, I’m never convinced that he’s kept track of things: I suspect that he cheats by simply making a mess. ‘A Dream of Wessex’ does this, and so does ‘A Quiet Woman’ and ‘The Extremes’. After those I got bored and gave up, so I haven’t tried the more recent ones. ‘The Glamour’ has a more interesting premise -- it’s another take on invisibility -- and the mess isn’t quite so messy as in some of the books. I must see what Amazon readers have to say about him. I have a feeling that he was once the Great White Hope of British science fiction, but I’d be surprised if people hadn’t been disappointed.

Audrey Niffenegger, eh? What fabulous names some Americans have. Actually, Audrey is a bit tame for a first name. Gates. DeForest. Imagine!

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