Wednesday, August 18, 2010


It is like a visual art installation in which each message is an image or object we can pick up in our hands.

You all know the Bookeywookey website, don't you?

It's a brilliant place for book reviews and interesting people and things to do with the mind. Just my kind of thing, and it's been a great joy to me that its creator, Ted, has become a friend since he read and was so kind about Tell Me Everything a couple of years ago.

But that didn't make it any easier when I knew he was going to review my new book. I wrote to him saying that he should say what he thought.

And then I regretted it but luckily didn't send the email saying 'Actually I didn't mean that. Say what I think....' or something worse.

But hurrah, hurrah, he 'got' it.

You can read the review here, but here's some of what he says:

The novel's leitmotif is a photograph and a negative, if you will: the superficial versus interior knowledge of another person. The snapshot one gets when knowing someone only from the outside in a single context, versus who they are inside, who they are when they relate to their intimates, who they are to themselves in their fantasies, and sadly, who they become when there is no one to whom they show their deepest selves. As a literary device the letters and messages are an appropriate form for this novel in that they are like snapshots, you need more than one to know the whole story. And while a nude picture is literally revealing, it does not necessarily give the viewer an intimate relationship with the subject. However the subject themselves possesses that whole story and so posing for that photograph feels a kind of risk, perhaps akin to the risk we take when we tell someone we love them, or the risk artists take when they put themselves into their work. That is the reverse image contained in the novel, the risk that it takes to be known. This is not just the artists' journey, it is everyone's and this novel's message is that the risk is worth it.

And in other happy dancing showing off news, last week on twitter, William Gibson tweeted that he had Getting the Picture on his reading list and then I got an email saying that a certain British philosopher is planning to take it on holiday with him. Not going to name him because the names are dropping fairly heavily in this post already (Oh but OK, if you insist, A d B may be some of the letters.... )

Anyway that's probably enough of the showing off now, Salway. Back to happy dancy writing!

1 comment:

Ted said...

Ha-ha-ha. That's really funny, about the un-sent email. I know just what you mean about waiting for an opinion of something you have created. Thanks back for the plug.