A doodling from a novel I’m enjoying at the moment, Lewis holding a chicken leg, the others killing a chicken:
“…I encounter Lewis. He has a shaved head, which he may think disguises his male-pattern baldness,… [...] His moon-like face is given a certain definition by strategically trimmed facial hair. [...] …while their heads became distended, like rugby balls hovering above their shoulders.”
– from FIRST NOVEL by Nicholas Royle (Jonathan Cape 2013, pp 20-28)
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About nullimmortalisWriter and Publisher Weirdmonger, Nemonymous etc
24 Responses to Novel Doodlings
I received the novel entitled FIRST NOVEL (2013) by Nicholas Royle for my 65th birthday a few days ago on 18th January, together with a novel entitled QUILT (2010) by another Nicholas Royle. The latter is a first novel.
I am also reading an amazing acclaimed book about 20th century music entitled THE REST IS NOISE by Alex Ross. This was his first book.
My own first (and last) novel, NEMONYMOUS NIGHT, was published by the award-winning Chômu Press in 2011 when I was 63.
The above doodlings teasingly remind me of my story CLAD BONE that the first Nicholas Royle above published in his DARKLANDS anthology in 1992.
CLAD BONE was recently republished in THE LAST BALCONY.
“After all, he’s a published novelist. He didn’t self-publish either; a proper publisher bought it, and put it out because they thought it was good enough (or because they thought they could make money out of it, but having read it, I kind of doubt it).”
–from FIRST NOVEL by Nicholas Royle.
It has again occurred to me – temporarily forgotten in this context – that the other book I am reading at the moment is HIDDEN FACES (1944) by Salvador Dali, an excellent novel as it turns out, Proustian but also something intrinsically unique, if not overtly or overly ‘Dalian’, and this was his first (and last) novel. One with a nemonymous-type title. Here are my favourite quotes from it so far; http://expenscusil.wordpress.com/quotes-from-hidden-faces-by-salvador-dali/
I am about two thirds of the way through FIRST NOVEL. Really inspiring. I shall make my final observations on it here in due course. Then I shall read QUILT and also report back here.
I have deleted the link to a review of ‘Nemonymous Night’ further up this page. Didn’t seem appropriate.
Above is the chair in which Lewis is sitting above.
I am now about four fifths the way through FIRST NOVEL. For me, so far, a major heart-felt, ‘realistic’ novel about family life and its on-off, either-or relationships as backdropped (or forefronted?) effectively by obsessions with first novels, meta fiction, creative fiction tuition, aeroplanes and a Ballardian sex-in-small-places. Writing a first novel and then getting it published is like taking off from the ground with little faith in ailerons…?
I have now finished FIRST NOVEL. I realise that my mention of meta fiction a few hours ago is not really appropriate. I’d class it as ‘future perfect’ fiction (a new genre?), not with, as the book itself describes, ‘some universal archetype’ but rather with a planeman (not a shipman) as universal plainman who deals (see page 234) with sometimes fitting, sometimes ill-fitting counterparts or counterpoints of a soaring novel he wears as conviction-reality. Cladding the bone. Putting exterior on the frame of struts and cockpit. Sexing the Ex.
And aviator shades to hide the face (a remarkable comparison with the Dali novel).
Author as Jekyll or Hyde? Either or.
Otherwise, my earlier comments above a few hours ago still apply. And, as a whole, it is a major book, an inspiring, sometimes disturbing, work of future perfection, and FIRST NOVEL will have been duly remembered and noted. And honoured.
“He wore round glasses and a sleeveless, green quilted jacket and carried a bag.”
Up to page 21 of QUILT, reminding me of my own father’s eventual death from MND in 2007, as conveyed by an engaging experimentation in prose style ( if that’s not a contradiction in terms) with a touch of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Not a first novel taking off, but landing??
A site that has for many years (deliberately or accidentally?) ambiguated the two Nicholas Royles: http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/r/nicholas-royle/
Just discovered via Google after mentioning Hopkins earlier:
“The novelist Nicholas Royle would be heartbroken if the ‘windhover’ were to vanish.” – The Guardian: Where have all the kestrels gone?
“Landscape plotted and pieced — fold, fallow, and plough;” – Gerard Manley Hopkins
And please do search the Internet for a great poem by RAY Bradbury that was written ‘for Gerard Manley Hopkins’.
I finished up at the end of QUILT’s Part I yesterday. The idiosyncratic style so far pleases me, but I can imagine it not pleasing everyone. It reminds me of a book called COSMOS by Witold Gombrowicz that is similarly obsessed with certain words, there ‘berg’, in QUILT ‘pristine’. This seems to suit the obsessions of this whole ‘review of two books and two Royles’ thread – with pervasive ‘objective correlatives’ like aeroplanes and here, in QUILT, rayfish that are shaped like aeroplanes (!) or at least stealth bombers … such pervasion giving much food for thought, backdrop or forefront, vis-a-vis the aftermath of the protagonist’s father’s death. This protagonist turn outs – by objective observance from other characters (that include a woman doctor and woman vicar) – to be a stranger man even than I originally thought, one who wears, with his ex-wife(?), green trainers to the funeral and is starting to build an aquarium for stingrays at home.
[The earlier quote above from FIRST NOVEL takes on a new slant?
“He wore round glasses and a sleeveless, green quilted jacket and carried a bag.”]
QUILT p77 – with our protagonist searching his late father’s room of books and other belongings, this is the point of view I naturally have, comparing it to the aftermath of my own father’s death. Yet, parallel to that, I find myself also imagining or empathising with my own son as he surveys my room (a glimpse of which is seen above earlier on this thread) following my ‘future perfect’ death…
I’ve now finished this first novel entitled QUILT. I have not yet read the AFTERWORD by the author as I try not to involve potential ‘extraneity-creep’ in any of my real-time reviews, owing to my life-long belief in the Intentional Fallacy… I shall read it later but probably won’t be back here to review it.
I can forgive all potential stylistic pretentiousness, or radical change of POV, or a supposedly rushed ending with pages of word lists embracing embedded anagrams or homophones of ‘ray’, yes forgive everything for a brilliant ending. You need to read it all and embrace the words yourself, including the ending concept of the manta ray etc. I am enormously impressed and will continue thinking about this novel for years to come, even re-reading it, not least for its startling echo of the photo earlier in this thread of bird prints, plane prints in the snow, surrounding a paragraph centred on this phrase: “uncontrollable traffic of miniature chubby Concordes”.
A double ‘wow!’ For FIRST NOVEL and QUILT!
Postscript: Well, unexpectedly, I come back after having now read QUILT’s ‘Afterword: Reality Literature’ – “Reality TV is of course a fiction”, it says. And this is relevant to me in my own on-line running-commentary essays on Reality TV, culminating this weekend when the latest CBB ended! This ‘Afterword’ seems to be the author’s version of his visit to the Diary Room. But who is his interlocutor of a Big Brother? Each and every reader? Or just me?