A couple of months ago I mentioned my plan to make my very first novel, long out of print, available as a free e-book. To that end I’ve been transcribing it ready for digital formatting, a tedious process at the best of times. Reader, I cannot go on. The book sucks. I don’t know what I was thinking. I don’t know what Chatto & Windus were thinking. I’m very grateful to them for launching my writing career at the advanced age of 39 but that does not alter the fact that The Man for the Job was a pillow-bitingly bad turkey.
One good thing has emerged from this colossal waste of my time: I can now see that I have improved as a writer. Maybe, fifty years from now, some post-grad, scraping the barrel bottom for a Ph.D topic will unearth the last remaining copy of my debut novel and come to the conclusion that it must have been written by a team of monkeys. Thank goodness I won’t be around.
My decision to scrap the project brought me a feeling of instant relief. Why did it take me so long? All those wasted Sundays. I blame my mother, a woman who never called quits on anything, not a five hundred page novel she wasn’t enjoying, not a stale station buffet sandwich. ‘I’ve started, so I’ll finish.’ I reckon Magnus Magnusson got that from my Mum.