Thursday, December 04, 2008

Balancing on the Edge of the World.


Well, this has cheered up a dismal morning: Balancing on the Edge of the World by Elizabeth Baines (AKA Fiction Bitch) fell through my letterbox just now. Always an impatient woman, I tore open the envelope and started reading it immediately.

Strange how with some writing you know you are going to like it straightaway: it takes just one sentence and you're sucked in. 'We're all drunk and Ellie's the drunkest.' is the first line in the book - and how can anyone stop there? So I didn't. I kept reading and came across one wonderfully quotable line after another: '...fear breeds fantasy, and fantasy's what ninety per cent of the human race is living on right now.' It even has a reference to science: 'What happens in solid condensed matter to the relation between particles when outer forces are brought to bear on it?' Very interesting question: as a chemist it set my mind racing.

From the back of the book I read that Elizabeth Baines is an award-winning short story writer, and I can see why.

Added note: Elizabeth has written a very interesting summary of the Manchester University's School of Writing discussion on Literature and Science (led by Martin Amis) here.

5 Comments:

Blogger jem said...

I know what you mean about that first line thing. I don't think it's ever let me down. As soon as I read one and it makes me sink deeper in my chair, turn away from the clock and know I'll be here a while.

Thu Dec 04, 01:29:00 pm  
Blogger BarbaraS said...

You're right, it's a great book. I hope she's working on her next one!

Thu Dec 04, 05:57:00 pm  
Blogger Tania Hershman said...

My copy of the book is winging its way from England, and you've got me all excited, Clare - I'll be hosting Elizabeth on her upcoming Virtual Book Tour, so stay tuned. It'll be great to be the one asking the questions this time!

Thu Dec 04, 09:59:00 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

Brilliant 1st line. Hookability!

Thu Dec 04, 10:22:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Jem: Mmmm, deep chair, warm fire, good book...what could be better?

Barbara: I expect she is! It's a sad malady, as we all know...

Tania: you're in for a treat, I reckon.

Jan: Hookability - good word, reminds me of an advert for British Gas from years ago: 'Cook, cook, cookability - that's the beauty of gas.' If only important things would stick around in my head like that one obviously has!

Fri Dec 05, 08:01:00 am  

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