Worthless Men (reading-as-a-writer 10)

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Why do I bother writing when the world already contains books like Worthless Men by Andrew Cowan (2013)? Set in an English market town in post-Somme 1916, the action spans no more than a couple hours and ends on a dark and puzzling note. The stream-of-consciousness style is a deluge of intricate and often disturbing period details of harsh childhoods, violent marriages, and awful living conditions. One random passage: “Clutching her pail, she lurches out to the midden, swings open the hatch, a surge of fat bluebottles rising to meet her … the mulch of peelings and slips spills over her feet and she sees there are maggots as well, and retching on the smell of it, she rips away the outer pages of the newspapers – Kitchen’s boys: New Armies push on – “ and so on. #ThreeGifts for the writer-reader: (1) Those descriptions! (2) Unlikeable characters (mine are all tediously clean and honourable). (3) The weird and shocking ending. #amwriting #amreading #GreatWar #bookstagram #greatwar

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About Hannah

Author of literary historical fiction set in the First World War. Revising my first book, writing the next, seeking representation. Mountaineer, gardener, traveller, off-road runner. Africa, modern history, coffee, roses, films, book and unrealistic romance. NHS midwife in a former life.
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