Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Another story

You know I said I was going to read Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend? And you know how I said that if I wasn't enjoying a book, I'd stop reading it? 

I want to qualify that statement. If I have spent £11.99 on a paperback novel - which is a huge amount for me ...I will spend that much on a text book or a book of poetry, but hardly ever a novel...the last time was on Carol Shields' Unless, because I could not wait for it to come out in paperback and I knew I would love whatever she wrote and it could technically be counted as an investment because it was a hardback first edition...oh dear, I don't know how to get out of this sentence.

I bought Ferrante's novel in London when I met Karen and I was feeling buoyant. We were in Waterstones and I was buying something else and I saw Ferrante and it was a lovely edition and I thought - Ooh, I can get discount here with my Society of Authors card (although it has to be said that the frisson of using it has little to do with the 10% discount). So I bought it. 

And I have been reading it and thinking Well, it's OK I suppose, but it's not really doing anything for me. And I would have given up reading it, EXCEPT that I spent that ridiculous amount of money on it. So now I am three quarters of the way through and I am enjoying the book. That's the full truth.

The news is that I worked on my new novel yesterday and had so much fun that I'm going to do it again today. Yay!


Anonymous said...

Best news on the novel!! Thrilled for you.
Intrigued by your Ferrante experience. Didn't persevere as long probably since I had a library copy and and ebook at that!! Perhaps .....

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you!
Yes, it's great news.
so re the Ferrante... are you saying you gave up on it?

Sue Hepworth said...

It was still a waste if money, though, because I don't like it enough to read it again. I only buy books that I know I am going to read at least twice.

Sue Hepworth said...

p.s. By that, I mean a brand new book. I will buy a book from Oxfam on spec.

Anonymous said...

Ferrante is a slow burner - not read again, I agree - but you'll want to know more, then more.
By the end of the fourth novel I reluctantly accepted that it was done - the story lines tied up, the artistry fully realised.

Glad you persevered to the point of enjoyment!

And that you've kicked off your own new project.
That's the good news.

ana said...

Ana back from anonymous

I didn't persevere, neither did my youngest sister the voracious and youthful reader, 18 years my junior and my favourite reading buddy. To quote her from her recent family cycling holiday in New Zealand after having finished Ferrante
" Relief ....! What was all the hype about Ferrante? Couldn't have followed those unattractive characters through 4 volumes! Hell."

Polarising for sure

Sue Hepworth said...

Hi Ana
I just read the review of Ferrante's book (s) in the London Review of Books in search of enlightenment. It obviously went straight over my head. Another way of putting it is that it did not speak to my condition. I do not like the writer's style, either. But the books obviously mean an awful lot to an awful lot of people. And Anonymous above obviously liked it enough to read all four books.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, it throws further light on the people on Amazon who complained about Plotting for Grownups being like a tourist information book. The book is a bit of fun and has no literary pretensions whatsoever, but even on those terms, some people get it, and some people don't.

ana said...

Wise reflection,Sue

And The New Yorker seems to be another of Ferrante's greatest fans. And don't get me started on irony....