May 26, 2010 at 5:30 pm #536uppaMember
I hope this is not too boring or personal. Here are a few ideas from the personal blog I used to keep :
In April 2005, after reading The Rotters’ Club I talked about how successful Jonathan was at using different narration techniques. Remembering an exam I took many many years ago, I defined him "a post-modernist", a writer who can experiment and show his mastery without being an often incomprehensible élitist like Joyce. I compared him to David Lodge’s first works, where you can first of all enjoy the story and then, if you want, enjoy finding parallels and/or intellectual stimuli.
When I started The Closed Circle in November 2005 I quoted a memorable sentence "Yes – I’ve learned from my mistakes, and I’m sure I could repeat them perfectly."; I also remember feeling very empathic with Claire as she walked up a hill to clear her head. All that first part was so … perfectly "spoken" by her that, even though I didn’t write about it, it has stayed in my mind since and gave me a reason for my question of the other day.
In June 2008, after reading The Rain Before It Falls, I decided that Jonathan should be part of my own personal Olympus together with my secondary school philosophy teacher, David Lodge, Oliver Sacks, Stephen Pinker, David Crystal and Bill Bryson (plus a bunch of folk-rock musicians…) This is not just because what they do entertains and/or interests me but also because I feel they must be special people, people who say things I think but can never express, people who know things I want to know but can never fully learn or teach, people I (would) like to speak to, people whose eyes smile in spite of everything. This last assumption on Jonathan was confirmed the other day when I saw him. 🙂
Finally (and don’t say "at last"!!!) when I read What A Carve Up in January 2009 (I have read all of Jonathan’s novels but in no specific order) I wrote about how I literally ate up the last 200 pages in one day and about how I had cried my eyes out in bed on a Sunday morning (while my partner was sleeping peacefully beside me) when I read about Fiona dying. I cried for her, for myself, for my aunt who’d died of cancer the year before, for my sister’s mother-in-law who had also been a victim of the British NHS and for injustice in general… talk about empathizing!
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