Writing as though it matters
I have used this page to reflect on what Jonathan Coe wrote in Like A Fiery Elephant, his biography of BS Johnson, and how Johnson’s credo was to write as though it matters. Coe wrote that: Novel writing is … an act of lunatic faith in the notion that by adding something to the world we might be improving it. The publication of my second novel Out of Such Darkness by Patrician Press prompts me to review if I’m being true to this credo; have I written this book as though it matters?
Coe wrote about ‘lunatic faith’ and I have this in spades in thinking that I’m creating a new novel genre called film-fiction. They say that life imitates art and the characters I have written have lives that echo the themes of the 1972 classic film Cabaret. The novel is set in two timeframes: early 1930s Berlin and early 2000s New York and elements from the film recur in each story until they collide and, as it says in the tagline, ‘the outcome defines where fate ends and destiny begins’.
But does it matter? Well, an early reader of the manuscript said: “It’s a topical reminder that acceptable jingoism and zealotry are only one act away from extremist atrocity.” The book is about extremism of many stripes and in this respect it’s not comfortable reading. But it’s also a page-turner driven along by characters and their stories and structured in a way that I hope commits the reader to care about how it ends.
So, yes, I believe that, because it’s entertaining and thought-provoking, Out of Such Darkness qualifies as writing as though it matters.
Out of Such Darkness published by Patrician Press is available to order from your favourite bookstore or in both e-book and paperback versions from
The Great British Book Shop.
My first novel No Mean Affair published by Foxwell Press is available in paperback to order from your favourite bookstore or in both Kindle and paperback versions from Amazon.
Or if you would like a signed copy of either book e-mail me direct: email@example.com