Clichés in Motion

Every now and then I get a bee in my bonnet and decide I should fill some of the massive gaps in my reading career. Enter Raymond Chandler. One of Chandler’s Philip Marlowe detective novels, ‘The Long Good-Bye’ (1953), was recommended by Ann Patchett in her book of essays, ‘This is the Story of a … Continue reading Clichés in Motion

Making Ends Meet

American author Ann Patchett gets straight to the point: ‘The tricky thing about being a writer, or about being any kind of artist, is that in addition to making art you also have to make a living. My short stories and novels have always filled my life with meaning, but … they were no more … Continue reading Making Ends Meet

Walking a Mile

Twenty years ago, did fiction writers worry about appropriation and exploitation when they approached their work? These have been issues much discussed more recently. Whose stories do we have the right to tell based on our identity and the identity of our characters? Whose voice can we legitimately adopt? Lionel Shriver’s opening address at the … Continue reading Walking a Mile

Drawing the Line

Reading Ann Patchett’s beautiful ‘Commonwealth’ (2016) raised once again the question of who owns a story. There is a character who is a writer in this superbly balanced novel which ranges from the 1960s to the present day and encompasses betrayal and adultery and death, and important things like love and acceptance, heartbreak and forgiveness. … Continue reading Drawing the Line