Tag, tag, tag …

First, and most interestingly, the excellent Sandra Scoppettone tagged me with this exercise, which is to promote books of recent publication that might be sliding from the public eye. It was the brainchild of Patti Abbot and I think it’s a great idea.

My choice is a novel by Jill Dawson, a writer I admire intensely and with whom I even exchanged few emails once. The novel is Fred and Edie which was an Orange Broadband Award for Fiction nominee in 2001. It’s a narrative that does a whole slew of things that I would normally claim to hate: it deals with fact – the infamous Thompson and Bywaters murder case, it’s written partly in the form of unsent letters (a device that’s usually ghastly to read) and it constantly references a poem released in the year the book deals with (TS Eliot’s The Wasteland, 1922) which can be an annoyance, like novelists referencing song lyrics to remind us which decade we’re in.

But Dawson surmounts these potential and self-imposed handicaps to produce an account of subtle humour, scorching sensuality and increasing awareness, on Edie’s part, that there is no way out for her – she is going to pay the price for daring to be an assertive, sexually self-aware woman, and that price is a terrible one. It’s written with spareness and lyricism, so every word carries more than its usual weight, and Edie’s covert rejections of the conventions of the 1920s are expressed with great subtlety, allowing us to put ourselves in her place and understand her actions with sympathy. Above all though, it’s a novel of beauty: whether that beauty is Edie appreciating the hats she handles as a milliner or the beauty of her young and illicit lover, or the beauty of hyacinths blooming in spring – and Dawson makes us feel her appetite for beauty, even as we realise that the appetite is going to lead her to something awful. Read Fred and Edie, you won’t regret it.

I’m going to tag Sara Crowley because she is extremely well read and will come up with a corker!

Second - Charles Lambert tagged me with two memes – here we go on the first which involves six random facts about me and then tagging six bloggers who must list six random facts about themselves and tag six bloggers who must ... (etc):

1. Kay is not my real name

2. I have a system for tying shoelaces that nobody else can do and I can’t explain

3. I was engaged eight times before I got married (to a man I was never engaged to)

4. If I live to be 75 I’m going to start smoking again (assuming it hasn’t been outlawed by then)

5. I can’t ride a motorbike

6. I read a book a day from the ages of six to twenty-one

And I’m tagging:

1. Bunny Goodjohn
2. Carol Reid
3. Lisa McMann
4. Jai Clare
5. Donna George Storey
6. Steve Kane

Then there's the other meme:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

The nearest books is A L Kennedy’s Day – lovely book, can’t recommend it too highly. The sixth, seventh and eighth sentences on page 123 are:

My friend.
My crew.
My girl.

(And yes, they are italicised).

So I’m going to tag:

1. Craig Terlson
2. Ahmed (who’s just published a Ren Holton story in his anthology SF waxes Philosophical)
3. Fiona (because her nearest book will probably be a cookery book and I love her recipes!)
4. Xujun Eberlein
5. Steve Augarde

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