Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Narrative Element

The Good Soldier - A Tale of Passion (Ford Madox Ford)
- Highlight on Page 189 | Loc. 1981-87 | Added on Thursday, August 18, 2011, 07:03 AM

I have, I am aware, told this story in a very rambling way so that it may be difficult for anyone to find their path through what may be a sort of maze. I cannot help it. I have stuck to my idea of being in a country cottage with a silent listener, hearing between the gusts of the wind and amidst the noises of the distant sea, the story as it comes. And, when one discusses an affair--a long, sad affair--one goes back, one goes forward. One remembers points that one has forgotten and one explains them all the more minutely since one recognizes that one has forgotten to mention them in their proper places and that one may have given, by omitting them, a false impression. I console myself with thinking that this is a real story and that, after all, real stories are probably told best in the way a person telling a story would tell them. They will then seem most real.


Tulkinghorn said...

Also this:

St Aubyn, who went to Westminster School and Oxford, always wanted to write. He started his first novel at 12, and sketched a succession of books in his drug-fuelled 20s, all of which were abandoned. "I saw writing as a transformative machine. It's to do with control. I spent most of my time feeling completely overwhelmed." A suicide attempt at 25 made him accept the need for therapy, and that in turn encouraged him to write the novel he'd been skirting around. "I'd been trying to write clever, fabricated, ideas-based novels, and they didn't have any emotional energy. The suicide attempt made me realise I had a stark choice between telling the truth and killing myself."

Tulkinghorn said...

I should have noted that the above quote comes from an interview in the Guardian with Edward St Aubyn, a fascinating figure and amazingly sharp and unsentimental novelist -- a Bloomsbury figure loose in the 21st century.

Books not in print here, but popular and praised elsewhere.

Additional cool quote:

The curious thing about St Aubyn's novels is the way they counterpoint personal suffering and social comedy: it is misery lit recast by Evelyn Waugh. The upper class into which he was born and which failed to protect him is mercilessly skewered.
"For some reason I can't really analyse, I alternate between those two things," St Aubyn says, "and I feel that to stay with just one of them would somehow be false. But the rhythm is completely instinctive. I've just had enough of the anguish, so I move on."

Tulkinghorn said...

I note that all the Melrose novels will be published in an omnibus edition here in January:

David Chute said...