Ordnance

Ordnance
Stokes Mortar - one of the simplest inventions

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Revolutionary Road - the conclusion

For me the best aspect of this book is the astonishingly realistic dialogue. Richard Yates obviously listens alot. But it is more than that, since he embeds the thoughts of the characters and allows them to use words in their heads which they dare not use out loud.

An intriguing character is John, a resident in a mental institution, who tells it as it is. He is the character, the only character who tells what he sees. He is the child, but with the maturity of the adult.

The dialogue tends not to be short and sharp, rather Yates gives the characters room for extended and involved conversation.

Great book

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Revolutionary Road

I was guided towards this book as one which dealt with the world of work, which is relevant to the novel I am writing. It is remarkable.

It has the most authentic marital row I have ever read (page 40 of the Vintage edition).

It offers a wonderfully realistic picture of reading to young children (page 56)

Revolutionary Road gives a great sense of the feel of a 1960's office. The sense of annoyance with a young mistress, I suspect, must surely ring bells for any who have walked that path.

It is written at a good pace but with no strong plot; it is very much a book about the interaction of characters. Tennessee Williams said about the book, 'this is more than fine writing; here is what makes a book come immediately, intensly and brilliantly alive...a masterpeice'.

He's not wrong.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The House of Sleep

Jonathan Coe's 1997 book is described by The Times as 'hilarious and devastating'. There are two very funny passages and the central plot, which never feels quite central is grim. The first funny bit is for us writers and is a delicious encounter between a commercial film director and a literary writer.

The story largely hangs on the symptoms displayed by people with sleep disorders and from time to time approaches farce. For me the heart of the book surrounds the relationships between a small group of students who were at university together and who later encounter each other (it is not a Peter's Friends!). This part is written sensitively and make the read worthwhile.