Love is Blind (reading-as-a-writer 14)

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I’ve liked William Boyd ever since I read A Good Man in Africa when I was myself a good woman in Africa. We’ve had our ups and downs but Love is Blind is a definite Up. Smart, elegant, gripping story-telling; no more and no less. When I grow up I want to write like William Boyd. —- Gifts for the writer/reader? —- (1) Character. No big exposition. Built up little by little, layer on layer; subtle hints, delicate clues – and, suddenly, we really care about this selfish, short-sighted, chain-smoking young Scotsman and his peripatetic life in the first decade of the 20th century. —- (2) Understatement. Act 1: Brodie falls in love with the woman who will define the rest of his life. Act 2: Brodie wins and then loses the love of his life. Act 3: No spoilers; let’s just say it’s not quite Happy Ever After. Could the love affair be more, um, passionate? Could the lost love be a bit more tragic? Possibly – and, in the wrong hands, probably – but the telling is perfect as it is and I’ve learnt a lot; the impeccable lens of the story-teller, the telling details, the significance of what is left unsaid. —- (3) Time passing. As a novice, I am particularly challenged when required to describe the passing of time or the passage of a physical journey. How to avoid ugly jumps in the narrative style? How to maintain dramatic tension? How to describe yet another train journey? (There were so many train journeys in the early 20th century!) #amwriting #amlearning #bookstagram

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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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