Killing people is all in a day’s work for a novelist but it doesn’t always come easy. Sometimes it’s clear that it has to be done, though the demise of any of my creations, even a monster, can sadden me. Sometimes it’s a tussle between sentiment and plot. Plot needs to win. Readers may howl and sob, but there it is. I feel your pain.
Recently I’ve been rereading my favourite Larry McMurtrys. This morning, woken early by a window-rattling easterly – a grand day for the drying, as they say in Ireland – I decided to read a couple of chapters of Lonesome Dove before I got up to brew tea. And gosh dern it if (SPOILER ALERT) Augustus McCrae didn’t up and die again. Nooooh……
It gets me every time. ‘How,’ I think, ‘can I go on and read The Streets of Laredo now Gus is gone? But I do. Bereft but still hooked, I read on.
On the topic of bereavement, I’ve also been speed-reading the much praised A Half Baked Idea by Olivia Potts. I bought it having in mind to give it to someone who seems a bit stuck in a rut of grief, but I thought I’d read it myself first, with very clean fingers.
It’s well-written and very moving but I could have liked it a whole lot more had I not been so horrified by the appalling waste of ingredients, failed projects scraped into a bin, sacrificed on the altar of perfection required for a Cordon Bleu Diplome de Patisserie. However I did very much like the idea of incorporating Rolos into a banana cake.