It's Comic Relief Day here in the UK again and, with red noses everywhere, today seems like a good day to mention the book that has made me smile the most in recent weeks.
The arrival of a book from Macmillan New Writing is always a treat because who can forget the right old brouhaha when the project was unveiled, authors submit work, receive no advance but have a higher than average open-ended royalties agreement. The nay-sayers were out in force and speculation was rife, this was going to be the RyanAir of publishing, preying on the naive first-time author and I remember e mailing Michael Barnard Executive Director of Macmillan at the time.
Yes me, really I did, just go to the top and exclaim... if you don't tell them how do they know?
I just wanted to say please be assured that as an ordinary reader I just want to read good books, if you find them for us this way then that's great, please ignore the flak and get on with it.
Michael Barnard very politely replied and assured me that he would.
It's another way for writers who may be missing the boat elsewhere to get published and the publishing world didn't like it one little bit.
Time has proved that this is most certainly not the RyanAir of publishing (though I quite like RyanAir actually, I've done a bit of BookCrossing on their planes) and thankfully I can stay out of all that and just enjoy the books. I certainly did that recently with Doug Worgal's Thin Blue Smoke and it's happened again with L.C.Tyler's second novel A Very Persistent Illusion.
I read The Herring-Seller's Apprentice and realised that L.C.Tyler has a very unique writing voice. It's hard to pull off sustained wry humour without it feeling tiresome and repetitious but he does it. I've also revisited the comments on that post and Mike, I think you're still there, that was a welcome reminder and I hope I'm still being true to the cause:-)
A Very Persistent Illusion made me laugh, and smile and nod and smile a lot more by the time I'd finished yet it also left me in no doubt that Chris Sorenson, and people I might meet like him in real life, often have a serious reason for their facade of joviality and humour. So it probably takes even more skill to contain sadness and tragedy within the confines of a book as funny as this and keep the thing afloat but L.C.Tyler managed it for me.
The elephant in the book is Chris's personal family tragedy, slowly hinted at and gradually revealed and it is huge. He has developed some off-beat coping strategies to keep it squashed in its cage with the door constantly threatening to fly off its hinges and let the whole kit-and-caboodle-jack-in-a-box mess shoot out.
When it does, he and we know he'll have to confront it.
Interspersed with some helpful philosophical action from the man himself, a Descartes storyline weaves in and out of the novel offering pertinent advice to Chris if only he can listen.
So if it's been a long cold winter (or a boiling hot summer) wherever you are, and you could do with a smiley read, names in comments for one of five prize draw copies of A Very Persistent Illusion by L.C.Tyler and of course Red-Nose-Rocky will oblige.