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Where to start with “A Month in the Country” by JL Carr (1980)? Would it be hyperbole to say this is one of the most exquisite short novels ever written? Another long, hot, post-war summer; another traumatised ex-soldier (yes, looking at you Adam Thorpe!) and a deceptively simple tale of – what? Healing? The strangeness of love? The quiet tragedy of missed opportunities? Three gifts* for the writer-reader: (1) Economy (not to be confused with parsimony); economy of dialogue, description, even plot. Not a single wasted word, self-indulgent sentiment or look-at-me adjective. (2) Ambiguity (not to be confused with literary carelessness). How did they – ? What happened to – ? And why didn’t he kiss her? (3) Precision (not to be confused with coldness). In the whole book, a mere half-dozen sentences of introspection and writerly awareness. Enough to jolt and move. No more and no less. [*The notion of identifying “Three Gifts” for writers is courtesy of editor, teacher and writer @mrandrewwille http://wille.org/blog/home/ ] #amreading #amwriting #writinginspiration #bookstagram
H M Hulme
Writer of literary historical fiction set in the First World War. Revising my first book, writing the next, seeking representation. Rather chuffed to be long-listed for Historical Writers Association Dorothy Dunnett Short Story Competition 2019. Mountaineer, gardener, traveller, reader. Africa, modern history, coffee, roses, and unrealistic romance. NHS midwife in a former life.