Reading dates: 05 – 31 August 2015
As I was finishing the edit of my new book Make Me Yours, I came across the chapter that discusses Tom Ripley, so I thought I would re-read the Ripliad. My experience of the first novel in the series was similar to the first time I read it, if not better. The Talented Mr. Ripley is a mediocre book to begin with, a little ruthless in its treatment of women, a little hateful, but which turns sublime about mid-way though. I don’t know why I like it so much. The writing is not extraordinary and I am sure other novels depict Italy more vividly. Yet, there is something about Tom Ripley’s insanity that I find so compelling … This is not identification, or perhaps it is, at an unconscious level. I, too, would like to get away with the worse.
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Reading dates: 02 July – 05 Aug 2015
Sometimes, while reading the Red Riding Quartet (of which Nineteen Eighty-Three is the last book), I thought I would not make it. The intensity of that narrative made me get up and pace the room, uttering ‘fuck!’. It is relentless, dark and brilliant, but it messed and manipulated me, a little like Lars von Trier’s films do.
The last volume is as well written as the rest, with three alternating narrators telling the story mostly in first, second and third person. Quite an achievement. In addition, the novel has the added pressure of having to wrap up all the threads weaved, and to do so in a satisfactory way. Often, this is where crime novels fail. David Peace does it well and by that I mean he does not overdo it. When reading the last 10% of the book, I often though ‘but, of course!’ when a detail, unexplained in Nineteen Seventy Four, was revealed. The quartet is a masterpiece, no question, a set I will be re-reading and studying with care when I get to write my own crime novel. Many out there are ok, but this is genius.
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