Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Last two LitFest events: Mark Lawson and Margaret Drabble

I finished off the Chester LitFest by going to two talks: one by Mark Lawson on his new novel, The Deaths, and another by Margaret Drabble, who talked about her novel The Pure Gold Baby.

 Mark Lawson's talk turned out to be question and answer session with questions devised by himself.  It was very funny and covered topics such as why it had taken him eight or nine years to write another novel (the answer was that he had, in fact, started three other novels only to have to abandon them when it turned out other people were writing similar novels, or he encountered the real-life daughter of someone he was going to feature in another, or what he'd planned to write as fiction became fact).

His novel, The Deaths, is about a series of very wealthy people and are a reaction to the idea of TV book clubs that the characters in a novel should be ones that the reader can 'care about'.  That sounds good to me: some of my favourite novels feature despicable characters.  I'm looking forward to reading this one.

Margaret Drabble's novel, The Pure Gold Baby, is based on a girl who spends her life in a state of grace - being liked  by everyone and loving everyone in return.  In other words, a 'special' child, and one who will never be able to read a book.  The book was written over several years without anyone reading it out of admiration of the 'pure gold baby' and the mother that devoted herself to raising her.  It has a complicated narrative structure: the narrator seeing the mother through the Pure Gold Baby's eyes - without actually being the Pure Gold Baby.  It sounds intriguing.

This was the last talk of this year's Litfest.  Congratulations to Paul Lavin and his team for putting on such excellent entertainment.


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