Monday, 16 June 2008

The Collector

I spent the morning working on the last section of the novel, a fiendishly subtle task since I've changed my mind about the tone of this section, and about the denouement. As a result, I'm faced with a painstaking unpicking of threads throughout the ms. But it's all good stuff; I feel this is right. I wrote the new ending, the last two pages, and I'm pleased with them. Now I just need to make sure the rest of the story lives up to those pages.

I broke for lunch and finished reading The Collector by John Fowles. This is a terrific book, the more so for avoiding the usual gravel-drive of crime and taking us instead on a beguiling meander through the back-lanes. I thought Miranda Grey, the heroine, was stunningly well written. Literary, compelling, as deep and thoughtful a portrayal of emotions and character as any I've read. The anti-hero, Clegg, was revolting, worse than Buffalo Bill in his impotent niceness. At least you know where you stand with Buffalo Bill, even if it is at the bottom of his makeshift pit. Clegg was so relentlessly... nothing. So dead. Fowles wrote him brilliantly, but his acute portrait of Miranda took my breath away. Men aren't supposed to write women that well! (I joke, somewhat, after all look at what Sheridan le Fanu did with his heroine in Uncle Silas - hard to believe le Fanu wasn't a gauche eighteen year old girl.)

Anyway, there's my recommendation of the week, make that month. The Collector. A masterpiece in more ways than one.

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