On being a writer...

A celebration of the writing process, of being a writer, of all the weird things that pass through a writing brain...

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

thank you jilly

I've spent Christmas, off and on, in the company of Jilly Cooper's latest. She is an addiction, like The Archers. Since girlhood there have been certain authors which press a button of total relaxation - Noel Streatfield, Georgette Heyer, Barbara Pym, yes, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte. I try to analyse what I love and I think the common factor is wit. And a lack of cynicism. Cooper writes of people obsessed with horses (about which I know nothing), nature, pets, sex and money. (Will not comment on own preoccupations or not with same). The good tend to be beautiful (at least underneath), kind, generous, capable of love. The bad are greedy, cruel, selfish, lascivious and mean. It's possible for bad to become good, but of course such characters show signs of potential goodness from the start, and are often to be redeemed by a loving woman. So there we have it, the perfect formula from Darcy to Rochester to Jilly Cooper; fairy tale stuff, the stuff of page after page of fiction. And I admit it, I fall for it every time. Just sometimes, it's good to pick up a book where the good end happily and the bad unhappily, where superlatives rule and where real life, for a space, is kept at bay.

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