Saturday, 6 October 2012
a casual vacancy
As well as some further work today on my difficult second novel, I've encountered a couple of other fresh books.
The first one is so new it hasn't been published yet. It's at that "A4 sized sheets that are freshly bound" stage. It looks neat but is waiting for the first few reviewer readers. I can safely say it has a great first sentence.
The other one is That Book, the one that everyone is buying at the moment and having opinions about. I got my copy from a proper bookshop and paid an almost full retail price for it. Fifteen minutes later I saw the same title on sale in Tescos for £9, which is less than half price.
I've only just started it. There's an okay but not great first sentence but actually the dust jacket gives away that the subject of the opening isn't going to make it alive to the end of the first chapter. An. Aneurysm.
I used that 'don't pass go' device in The Triangle, where in my case I think of it as the James Bond beginning (i.e. something lively that doesn't have a lot to do with the main story).
In the red covered novel's case it is used to set the motivation for what happens in the next few chapters.
I haven't really read enough to have fully formed views yet, but I can see already that JK Rowling writes a good line in teenagers and it is quite interesting to see how she develops inhabitants of varied housing estates in a manner similar to the Muggle parts of the early Harry Potters.
I can understand the title of the novel based upon the thoughtfully added definition in the front of the book, but I suppose it is also about that way of living - a kind of casual vacancy of mind that people have in many situations. I'm assuming that will be a theme of some kind as I get further into it.
Others have said the story telling is kind of standard, but I suppose JK Rowling has been a plot-meister in the other series of books. It will be interesting to see whether this one branches into new territory and how much Rowling-esque back story will feature.
Posted by rashbre at 14:42