Wednesday, 29 September 2010

holmes, boom, old man's beard etc

Watching Sherlock Holmes--Robert Downey Jr is God.

Meanwhile, on a serious note, I was sad to read of the death of Holly Eley in the Times yesterday. About ten years ago when I'd lost confidence in my abilities as a critic, she sent me a series of about seven or eight seemingly random non-fiction books to review for the TLS, which by their very difference from the fiction I'd been writing about for years quite refreshed me. The last was the estimable She Moves Through the Boom, about what seemed then to be the Irish economic miracle.

How this reviewing came about was itself quite random. I phoned the TLS and got Holly. I explained that I wanted to speak to Lindsay Duguid about reviewing fiction. Holly talked to me about my work and when I asked her when Lindsay would be back, she said something like, 'I think I'd like you to write for me.' Two days later a parcel of four books arrived. We never met but I have always been grateful to her.

Went to the readings at the end of the first MSt residence of the 2010/11 year last night. Really enjoyed the students' work and that of the guest author, Tim Pears.

Funnily enough we'd been talking about In the Place of the Fallen Leaves when we were staying in Somerset. We'd been wondering about cider-heads and what it was about the drink that caused all the trouble. It was nice to see Tim again and he settled the point.

I thought the pieces he read from his new novel were very interesting. I know his early work, having reviewed both In a Land of Plenty and A Revolution of the Sun but this was different from those. There was a measured simplicity to his prose last night, which one suspects only comes with time.

Talking of Somerset, the above pics are the last of the holiday ones I'll post.

As far as Invisible is concerned, I'm really pleased that Blackwell is now stocking it.

Last weekend btw was partly spent working on an unusual Latin American subject request that involved researching the Mayan prophesy about cataclysmic events on 21st December 2012 and the problem of correlating the Mayan and Gregorian calendars. I had to research the subject and produce a short essay. I love my job!

Ho-hum, I can't work out whether SW is winding me up for some strange reason. Time will tell, I suppose. Which is where I shall end.

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