ARE YOU EMBARRASSED by your choice of favourite book/ band/ movie?
I got this letter from a friend who likes to call herself Merlin:
“Has this ever happened to you? I read a book that got rave reviews and it just didn’t work for me. I just didn’t get it. And then I read a book which I thought was the best thing ever, but the thing attracted no attention: no one else has ever heard of it. When people ask me for my favourite book, I just lie. What would you do?”
I think Merlin’s question is an intriguing one, and one that I would love to hear from current or previous members of my “writing cells” about.
Don’t worry, Merlin. Probably we all have examples of what she is referring to. The book that everyone loved (it has a place in literary history) but which meant nothing to me is Wuthering Heights. I was so shocked to get nothing out of it, after reading so many litcrit raves about it, that I sat down and read it all again, in case I had missed the magic. But it still remained closed to me.
As for the book that I really loved, that never won fame or a Pulitzer or anything remotely similar, was a little book called Talking Man by Terry Bisson, about a wizard who lives in a car junkyard in Kentucky. He looks like an old hobo, but in fact he was he who dreamed the world into existence….