The tireless Tim Love has written a detailed review of my story collection Balancing on the Edge of the World.
He says he likes it - which tickles me pink!!
Honestly, though, such an eye-opener, the way others see you! He says that 'middle-class people dominate ' in my stories!! Moi? Middle class! Well, of course I am, but I never thought of my stories that way, since I always think of them as most informed by my pre-middle-class sensibility - the way of seeing the world which my 'working-class' parents gave me. It's true, of course that the stories are concerned with class, along with the other forms of division and prejudice I'm concerned with in my writing (and life), and indeed with the power of middle-class people, and, let's face it, the real problem with those with the greater power is that they do dominate. The funniest aspect of this is that one of the stories, 'Star Things', which is about a sensitive and fairly 'posh' small girl going to the woods with some 'rough' kids (and learning a shocking lesson), was once reviewed as being about a 'rollicking deprived childhood' - ie, all of the children, including the protagonist, were seen as 'rough': an interesting illustration of how the perspective of the reader affects the reading.
And here's another thing which took me aback: although the story never specifies, Tim assumes that the group of people on a night out in the first story, 'Condensed Metaphysics', are all women, but in my head they were mixed - mainly because in the real-life incident which gave me the idea for this story, they were mixed! So here I am now wondering if such an assumption affects the whole tenor of the story, the relationships and conversations, creating whole new implications!
Tim likes best three of the more experimental stories in the collection, 'Leaf Memory', 'A Glossary of Bread,' and 'Going Back', though he says he also likes the much more conventional 'The Shooting Script' which he says has 'strong comic characterization'.
And he comments that I use the pathetic fallacy in 'Power'! I who hold up the sign of the cross whenever a pathetic fallacy hovers!!! I don't think I do use it here, actually, though I guess there's a subtle difference in what I do do: while I would always avoid outright personification of the weather etc, one thing that interests me deeply is the way we (and therefore characters) do indeed impose our emotions on our surroundings and see them as reflected back at us, and that's what I'm intending the protagonist to be doing here.
Answering your critics, eh? Think I'll start a new trend...
But many thanks, Tim, and I'm really glad you liked the book!