Saturday, September 02, 2017

A post in two parts

Do you read quiet novels? 

I think the last two books I read that could be described as quiet were Willa Cather's Shadows on the Rock, and Kent Haruf's Our Souls at Night. I am very happy to read a quiet book if it is short and beautifully written. ( I don't always like them...I hated the much-lauded  My Name is Lucy Barton.) But I can't think of a commercially successful quiet book by a previously unknown writer. Can you?

I recently saw the film Paterson which I adored. It's about a bus driver who is an aspiring poet. It's such a lovely film that when it came to the end, I could have sat and watched it all over again, straight away. And it is so quiet that I sat puzzling how it came to be made. How on earth did it get financial backing? I read up about it and discovered that the writer and director is Jim Jarmusch, a famous and successful director. That's how it came to be made. An ordinary screenwriter would never get the backing for such a quiet film.

I don't know where I am going with this, except that this week I found myself writing to someone that I no longer expect anything to happen with my writing, but I keep writing because I am horribly bad tempered if I don't. And I am well aware that for PR purposes I shouldn't be saying this on a blog, but there you are. I've said it.

And I am still enjoying working on my quiet novel, working and reworking it to make it the best I can. And when it's done, which I hope will be the spring, you will get to see it.

The second part of this post is a return to the Antony Gormley figures on Crosby Beach, called Another Place. My hesitancy about these figures stems from my basic dislike for non-ephemeral art installations in the natural world. But after reading my post on Tuesday about Liverpool, Rosemary Mann sent me some photographs of the iron men which she said I could share with you. I found the pictures very affecting, and it's made me want to go back to see the figures at sunset when the beach is quiet and when the sand is wet.


marmee said...

I am going to have a think about quiet novels by previously unknown authors. I have never been to that beach with the statues nut the photographs make me uneasy. I have something niggling in my brain about statues that move , imperceptibly, tiny bits at a time.

Sue Hepworth said...

Hi Marmee
I changed the 'successful quiet book' to 'commercially successful quiet book' becaus that is what I really meant.

Anonymous said...

I'm constantly on the look out for quiet novels but they are difficult to find. I'd
recommend Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift if you haven't tried it yet. There is a place on the bookshelves for quiet novels as an antidote to all the 'thrillers' etc. Oh, and I'm glad it isn't just me who disliked the Olive Kitteridge novel.

Sue Hepworth said...

I loved Olive Kitteridge and I also lived Amy and Isabelle by the same author, I just hated My name is Lucy Barton.
Yes, I like Graham Swift, and I did read Mothering Sunday, but perhaps I wasn't in the right frame of mind and should read it again, as I couldn't see why it was listed for a prize.

Anonymous said...

There's such a precious space for 'quiet' but affecting experiences.
Not a novel but gentle film coverage of Prue and Tim's affectionate musings and adventurous wanderings along different canal systems - offers pure pleasure.

The Gormley statues are oddly affecting. I think I like them - thanks for showing.

And I love the renegade swallow on the end of the row - what a picture!