Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Art of Successful Side-Tracking.

So, I've finished the editing. I've written the reports. Right, I think, time to get back to my reading on silkworm imaginal discs. So I open the book, write a few notes (get a little side-tracked thinking how weird it is that we all start off as similar-looking embryos)...but then the damned postman shoves something that I can hear is not letters through the door, and obviously I have to go and take a look.

Well, actually, Dr Grump gets there first. She rips it open, pulls out the book, and for a few minutes just stands there gawping at the cover.

And it is this: THE ISLE OF DOGS by Daniel Davies from Serpent's Tail.

'What is that girl up to?' she says. 'Has she mistaken a car for a changing room?'

Then she taps the cover with one beautifully laquered finger-nail. ' I do hope she's alone in there, but I have my suspicions that she isn't. And what is that white strappy thing in her hand - surely not the rest of her underwear because, if it is, I feel compelled to point out that it doesn't match. Black bra, white thong - well, personally I would never go there...'

She hands the book to me and I am so busy peering into the car-window that it takes me a few minutes to notice the camera at the top right that is peering too.

And this is the point of the novel - our obsession with spying on each other.

Anyway, I have to tell you that the cover worked. My prurient curiosity now awakened, I looked eagerly inside. The initial conceit is excellent - rather like a modern, snappier version of James Robertson's at the start of THE TESTAMENT OF GIDEON MACK - and then it's straight into the first chapter which is set in a town two hours away from London.

At last a book set in a provincial town by a narrator who has rejected London! Londoners, he says, are too exhausted to do anything. A good point.

'If you want life, if you want intrigue, if you want possibilities, come out here - to the provinces.' Daniel Davies says.

And I feel inspired - and almost too excited to get back to the imaginal cells of the silkworm.


Blogger Jud said...

My interests would have been aroused by such a sight as well.

Do not forsake the silkworms, though.

Wed Apr 22, 02:21:00 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

Ah, I love the security cam on the cover: my sis is doing a whole series of them as a project for fine art... This sounds like a good book!

Wed Apr 22, 02:35:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

I won't, Jud - though I rather think they have forsaken me.

What a brilliant idea for a fine art project, Barbara! You could say so much. In fact they do say so much - about us all, I suppose.

Wed Apr 22, 03:30:00 pm  
Anonymous Gilles said...

"[...] it takes me a few minutes to notice the camera at the top right [...]"

It's not that I'm asexual or too old, but the camera is the first thing I noticed. By the way, I think the camera is on the left ?

Thu Apr 23, 06:44:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Duh! Left...of course, thanks Gilles. I'm useless at the left/right business. And I have to say I honestly didn't notice the camera until I took another look...

Thu Apr 23, 10:40:00 am  
Blogger crimeficreader said...

"I'm useless at the left/right business." That's interesting to know. Just in case I am ever in London again and needing directions...

Fri Apr 24, 12:48:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Heh heh. Yes, giving directions is my particular area of expertise, CFR!

Fri Apr 24, 06:30:00 pm  
Blogger jem said...

Sounds like a good one, I'll add it to my list. Thanks for reminding me of the Gideon Mack book too, I loved that, especially the underground scenes!

Sat Apr 25, 03:29:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Yup, it's certainly very good writing from what I've read so far, Jem.

Mon Apr 27, 09:31:00 am  

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