Well as it happens I couldn’t overcome the wimpishness. I couldn’t get back into ‘The Duchess’. I still feel guilty about starting another book before I’ve finished the one I’m halfway through (something a little calvinist about that, I feel sure!), but nevertheless I have picked up an old Colin Bateman and started into that. It was found at the folks house, having been left (presumably) by the brother when he was there last Christmas (he lives in New Zealand – he has an excuse for being an irregular visitor to the folks!)
Anyway. I had read a Colin Bateman – Maid of the Mist – a few years ago, having been gifted it for Christmas/birthday or something. Clearly not one of his finest, it certainly informed my perspective on the complete body of his work. Consequently, it had never crossed my mind to try another of his offerings.
But having come upon it accidentally and despite the dim memory of that last foray into his world having dampened expectations, I have now reached page 47 and am still enjoying it!
It is set in Belfast. In a world I almost recognize. The references to streets and landmarks are familiar to me (although how he has walked from the Holy Land to the Holywood Road, taking in Short Strand, in 20 minutes, is a total mystery to me! Why he would take that route speaks to me of someone who has forgotten where Belfast’s Holy Land is!! Or someone who is trying to confuse a foreign spy?)
The dialect is sharp, embedded in Belfast culture, dripping with Belfast eloquence, expression, cynicism/humour.
The people (so far!) can be seen any Saturday night, hanging around the town centre, waiting for taxi’s, going for dinner, queuing up for the theatre.
This is a world I can almost identify with. Almost, as in, the lost world of my youth. (Work/life balance now conspires against pursuing old habits, let alone following hip contemporary youth culture…)
Anyway. It all bodes well for ‘Divorcing Jack’. The protagonist is a disagreeable smart-ass but it’s light, undemanding and catchy. I’ll let you know. It’s amusing, entertaining. So far. To read or not to read (to the end)??? That is the question I’ll answer for you in a few days…..