Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My amazon twin.




For quite some time now my amazon page has twinned me with The Mathematics Of Love by Emma Darwin.

It's one of those weird X-file like mysteries that no one can explain. What makes it particularly astonishing is that Emma is one of the few novelists I have actually met in person. She was kind enough to come along to one of the MNW launches. (There were so many, you know.)

I also know Emma from the writers' site, writewords, where she is an extremely friendly, supportive and well-informed expert. You don't think that could be the connection, do you?

Well, of course, knowing Emma as I do, and having our books twinned, I was naturally very keen to read her novel (TMOL, as it is known to those in the know).

I finished it today and absolutely loved it.

Here are some thoughts:


Emma's grasp of the nuances of detail that make up the textures of her characters' lives struck me as nothing less than clairvoyant. She handles the historical material masterfully so that it never gets in the way of the story, but does the job of allowing the reader to experience the reality and immediacy of distant - and not so distant - events. She also moves between the twin time periods seamlessly (the book is set in 1819 and 1976), linking them by thematic connections and a parallel narrative pacing. Two stories are being told - of Stephen Fairhurst, a veteran of Waterloo, and of Anna Ware, a hot, bored, lonely teenager - but each serves to add meaning and resonance to the other by the simple action of perspective.

It is a highly intelligent book, written with great control, and yet it has an emotional power that is all the more breathtaking for that.

The Mathematics of Love is one of those books you sink into. From page one you know you are in safe hands. My only complaint is that I reached the end of its 400 plus pages all too soon.

8 comments:

Debi said...

Been meaning to ask ... you ARE registered for PLR (library loans)and ALCS (copying etc) aren't you? Every bit counts ...

roger said...

Debi, you should meet Emma. These are the kinds of questions she's always asking me!

Err, well, errm, oh look, isn't that a UFO? [runs off while debi is distracted]

Elizabeth said...

Roger, I just went in to Waterstone's {Manchester)and asked for your book. THEY HAD NOT GOT IT!!! So to make a point, I ordered it and had to pay up front, and now have to wait 'fourteen working days'!!!! Jeez.

roger said...

Elizabeth, that's extremely good of you to do that. I feel terrible though that they made you pay up front and wait etc.. Bastards. Well, that's the reality of bookselling. They did have stock in Manchester Waterstone's because I went in there at Easter - I was up visiting my mum in Stalybridge - and we went into town. Couldn't resist checking, and then putting one into a more prominent position (turning out, I believe it's called).

It must have been all my relatives who bought their stock.

Well, all I can say is thank you very much. I hope you enjoy it (he adds nervously).

Roger.

Elizabeth Baines said...

Yes, they did say they had had it, which was good to know!

Debi said...

I'm still here you know!

Why would you turn down more £££? Even if it's not much? It makes you feel great to see that you're earning something directly from your writing ...

Emma, shall we get together and jump on his head?

Nic said...

Elizabeth, next time come to me (www.mrbsemporium.com) or your local independent. I don't have Roger's book in stock now, but that's 'cause I've just read about it. I'm getting one in to take a look at and whether I've got it or not I can order it in, pack it up, send it out and have it on your doorstep in 5 days. And if you were local and walked in my store to place the order, I'd NEVER charge you up front.

roger said...

Ouch! You could have taken your stilettos off first.

Hi Nic, thanks for looking in. A bookseller, no less. I really appreciate you getting a copy of the book to look at. That's very good of you. Where is your shop?