September 28, 2010 at 10:46 pm #566gert-vanMember
Dear Jonathan Coe
It was a long way back to my place, and the entire time I was anxious to put something to paper, as I was bursting with ideas. Like the young keyboard player William, there’s so much going on inside my head and on my way here, I felt the need to let it all out. In my case, it’s not music that is locked up inside my head. Instead, it’s a need to write about your fiction. Instead of continuing the novel I’ve been writing for ages by now, I feel a strange urge (and enthusiasm) to write about your novels.
By the way, you might not remember me by the time you read this. I briefly met you in Ghent on the 28th of September, and it is a combination of the interview, our brief talk and finishing my sixth Coe novel, The Dwarves of Death (what an incredible ending, just like all of the other novels), on the way back, that inspired me to start writing a text about your fiction.
We all know the sense of the Sublime. While reading your novels, I can get really astonished at the idea of connectedness in your work, at the idea of complexity. There is just so much to discover and probably I haven’t figured out even half of the references, the allusions, the themes, in short the aspects and the value of your work. I find this more exciting than reading (and reading about) Joyce’s Ulysses, however interesting that masterpiece is. Maybe it’s a vain need to control all of this that put me to start writing a … text. I’m not sure what I want to do with it, but it would be nice to eventually publish it, at least online. I don’t know if there’s a opportunity on this website (to start with) to publish such a text, other than this interesting message board. But maybe nobody’s waiting for yet another critic to write thing that have probably already been said.
Anyway, this message should make clear once again how deep my admiration for your fiction goes. I’m looking forward to start reading The House of Sleep, which is indeed not among the six books I’ve read. Some people call it your most moving novel. The mere idea that it will be more moving than say What a Carve Up! is a very strange one to me, but I’m sure it will touch me in the same way and to the same extent as the other novels have. There can indeed be no end to discovering Coe.October 1, 2010 at 4:07 pm #772uppaMember
Gert, it’s a pleasure to read your posts.
This reply is to assure you that if you are looking for a novel that is thrilling, moving, funny, skillful in its narrational technique and yet never tiring or incomprehensible (like Ulysses CAN be…), a novel that explores the complexity of human nature without depriving you of the pleasures of reading an engrossing story, then The House of Sleep is most definitely the book for you! Enjoy! ClaudiaOctober 1, 2010 at 10:27 pm #773gert-vanMember
Very eloquent reply, and I’m sure that you’re right 😀 Just finished reading the third chapter by now. The typical familiar "Coean" (no, we might need a better adjective) build-up to a fantastic story. If only I could write a tenth as good as that 🙂
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