Welcome

This is the space where I plan to post my thoughts about my new novel, NOD (Bluemoose Books, 2012) as well as pieces about the writing process, journalism, and the practice of teaching writing. In other words…anything to do with words.

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5 Responses to Welcome

  1. kevin says:

    Got the preview download from amazon, loving your kinetic sardonic flow, BUT you mis-attributed a quote from Pulp Fiction. Samual l Jackson did not say ‘medievil on your ass’, it was Marcellus Wallace played by Ving Rhames. Please, if you’re going to get down with the movie geeks, on seriously well loved films, make sure to get it right – its very jarring to run over such a glaring misquote. You might as well attribute ‘I am your father’ to jabba the hut.
    That said Im going to buy the whole kindle book now, i just had to get that out of my system.

    • pucman1 says:

      I know, I know. I screwed up as did my editors. As soon as the book came out we got a lot of flack. No excuse other than the movie is so filled with Jackson’s riffing, it seemed it must have come from his character…The next edition will be corrected. Anyway, hope you like the book…let me know what you think AND if you find any more errors…

  2. kevin holmes says:

    so – I just finished Nod, and since a published author has never before directly asked for my opinion, I feel bound to reply.

    The pace and rhythm of your writing feels shiny and new – although I must disclaim (besides being at the end of my second bottle of wine, and being in a somewhat pontificatory mood – no doubt exacerbated by just having stepped out of Paul’s shoes) that my author pantheon is very focused, zeroed in on those who transport me, to a novel starting point, and thence to a destination.

    The books/authors I still re-read every few years are the first two of Peake’s Gormenghast trilogy, Ian M Banks culture novels (I started with Wasp but haven’t managed to finish a non-culture novel since), Moorcock’s Dancers at the End of Time, Vernor Vinge, Joe Abercrombie, and Dan Simmons. As a teenager I was indelibly marked by JD Sallinger, Herman Melville, Anthony Burgess, William Gibson and Roger Zelazny, but of them I only still pick up Zelazny.

    Those are the authors I love – so hopefully that informs you a little of my “value perspective”, and how limited it might be. Also – and this may say a lot more about me – I don’t know who Paul was to you, but to me he was perhaps the most sympathetic character I’ve inhabited since Holden Caulfield.

    I was definitely transported by Nod, I enjoyed the grim tone. As I already said I love your prose, but I still rushed through it without being sure to absorb every pure/harmonic phrase-note or observation, because I was almost certain from the first few pages of the preview that there would be no narrative denouement.

    I knew The Dream and the innocence-crystallized kids had to be MacGuffins, and that it was going to be one of those “the journey is the story” books. Nonetheless the protagonist was so perfectly sympathetic, and the prose so kinetic – I just had to keep going.

    I’ve always felt somewhat cheated and disappointed by “journey” narratives. It feels like a cop-out, like the author sat and typed – as it came – without an ending in mind, and an ending never occurred to him, so he just kept typing, until the only corner left unpainted was under his feet.

    So I was inevitably disappointed, but not surprised, on finishing Nod. I knew what was coming, but I had to finish it anyway, and while I enjoyed reading it, my enjoyment was tainted throughout, knowing that there would be no point to it all. Once “captain america” could not be woken, and Paul admitted the same expectation for himself, even the non-ending was crystal clear. Hence I rushed it, and will have missed some of the sights along the way.

    Having said that I will be looking eagerly for your next book – in the hope that there is a start, stunning prose and observation, AND an ending.

    Kevin.

    PS – on a purely technical note, the kindle version of your book will not render in white on black for some reason. I had to read it in normal black print mode. I prefer white on black because the contrast highlights the text better and it also saves tablet battery.

    Also the comments this web-page are impossible to read because the background image and text are so similar in colour. The only way to read the comments is to block select the text.

    • pucman1 says:

      Hey, Kevin.

      I appreciate the time you took to reply. In my defense, I have to say that the theme of the novel is letting go…so a sort of non-ending was inevitable. Built-in, if you will. You were kind enough to mention Paul in the same breath as the immortal Holden C! Thanks so much as, along with Hamlet, Holden is my favourite literary character ever. BUT! You’d be hard-pressed to say Catcher In The Rye has much of a plot. The same complaint is also made about Hamlet–he dithers and he dies. I think when the impetus is to write about people’s insides, the outside necessarily diminishes somewhat. So what makes Paul hopefully compelling also detracts from the action. Or maybe I just couldn’t swing it…

      That said, my next book will be plot-heavy. I totally agree with what you say on this front, even though I found myself defying my own preferences with Nod.

      I’ll pass your comments about the kindle to my publisher. And I’ll have another look at my blog’s set up.

      BTW, I enjoyed your prose. Do you write?

      Adrian

  3. kevin holmes says:

    Hi Adrian,

    You’re very kind to ask if I write; I don’t, although sometimes a bottle emboldens me to flowery phrase, or perhaps florid would be more accurate 🙂

    Holden Caulfield is also on my medal podium of favourite characters, the others being from Gormenghast and Dancers…. I don’t re-read Catcher in the Rye though, perhaps because I know it would make me sob like the first time. I deliberately left my copy on a bus – hoping to drop the bomb on some random soul.

    You’re right of course, about Nod being thematic, and its narrative arc being integral from the start. It’s there from when Paul first describes the end of the dream. Re-reading my post this morning, and re-masticating yesterdays impressions, I see it a little differently. I also thought “no more late night spiels!” – well, not for a while anyway …

    I’m very pleased to hear about your next book – I’ll be waiting for it.

    Kevin.

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