Wednesday, April 19, 2006


My friend Jane, who used to embarrass me by shouting out 'Local Author!' at every opportunity, has now shortened it to just 'Local'. E.g., this morning she greeted me casually at the bus stop with, 'Hello, Local.'

She's finished the book, which she said she enjoyed. She described it as 'very innovative' and added she'd never read anything like it. All good, as far as I'm concerned. She's in a reading group and the last book they discussed was Murakami's Kafka on the Shore, so she is used to the unusual, I think.

When we were on the bus she proceeded to quiz me on various details of the story. It was quite strange for me, like being interviewed by Mariella Frostrup in a very public place. Jane's not a shy person and enunciates her questions very clearly. I spotted people turning round to have a look at us now and then. If I was self-conscious, Jane certainly was not.

She admitted she was in a slightly unusual position - dare I say privileged? - being able to quiz an author on the bus about a book you've just read. From my point of view, I really appreciated it, as I was able to understand the nuances of her reading experience. The most gratifying thing was that I really had the sense that she had engaged with the book and the characters, enough to want to know more about what happened to them outside the text of the book. I suppose it's a classic reader reaction: to be interested in the bits a writer chooses not to include, or spell out.

One of the words she used was 'gripping'. I was happy with that.


Richard said...

My, my--I thought you were well beyond public transportation, now that you're famous. Maybe Mr. Archer's chauffeur can swing by the bus stop next time and save you from public scrutiny. Jane sounds like a fun person, BTW.

Debra Broughton said...

I would have loved to quiz you about the book too. If you ever take a tram ride in Amsterdam let me know!