This is a mixed post, but there’s a method to my madness – so bear with me.
First things first, after my rant about the portrayal of historical novelists in fiction, my friend Davide Mana pointed me to the Writer’s Manifesto, by Joanne Harris. Harris may not be my favourite author, but I share many of her views on writing, writers, writerly life, readers, readerly expectations, and the many myths, misconceptions and downright bizarre ideas floating on this particular water.
Whether you are a writer or a reader, it makes for interesting, thought-provoking read.
I rather thought I loathed Albert Camus, you know. I read The Stranger and The Plague in French as a girl, and disliked both book intensely – after which it never crossed my mind to try Camus again. If asked, I’d say that Camus is not my kind of author – and that’s that.
Until last night, when we had our sea-themed Ad Alta Voce meeting, and my friend Milla read a descriptive piece about the sea – apparently some kind of highly stylized travel memoir. It was a short, thick thing, rich in images and heady in language – and wonderfully translated too… “What did you say is that?” I asked – and the entirely unexpected answer was: “Camus.” So now I’ll have to seek out the memoir, read it and, in all likelihood, revise my opinion of Camus.
It’s one of the reasons why I love Ad Alta Voce: the findings, the discoveries, the surprises. After all, with writers, you never know.