Thursday, 16 October 2008

Chris Paling - "A Town by the Sea"

Publ: 2005 ISBN: 0224074350
Rating: *

So far on this blog I have posted about books I have read and books I have only read the first part of but this is the first time I have posted about a work of fiction that I skimmed. Perhaps, first of all, I should explain why I got it out of the library. |it was on the new books shelf and I fell for its wonderful cover. Forget the blurb the cover looked so good I had to at least try it.
It begins... 'When I awoke the tongue of the tide was lapping at my feet and the sea had claimed my belongings. The sand on which I lay was so stiff there was no trace of my footprints across it. An observer viewing me from above might have imagined I had been washed upon the shore from a shipwreck. Another would perhaps have construed that I had been cast away by choice. If I had encountered my inert body I would have made the former assumption although the latter is much closer to the truth.' and from on its gets more and more weird.
Nevertheless, the first few pages also yielded some good quotes so I skim read the rest partly to see if I could pick up any more quotes and partly to see if it began to make sense at any stage. It didn't. As Wikipedia described it - "A Town by the Sea (2005) is a departure from his previous style, leading the reader through a strange landscape of unfamiliar people and places."
Does this count as having read it, I wonder?
A couple of quotes:-
"Do not trouble yourself with the hours ahead of you. Regret nothing of the hours that have passed. Only misery lies in contemplating the future."
"...imagining myself to be under constant observation and feeling undeserving of my place in the world are the twin blights of my life."
(That quote particularly struck me because I know someone like that.)
"To make progress one must first set out; the direction one initially chooses in unimportant."

CHRIS PALING does not appear in the index of Fantastic Fiction which seemed a bit strange but when I Googled him there he was with his Fantastic Fiction page. Not often I find an error on that brilliant website. His page also had no biographical information so I had to turn to Wikipedia for that. Born in Derby in 1956, Chris Paling studied social sciences at University of Sussex. He started working as a studio manager for BBC radio in 1981. In the early 90s he had a Thirty Minute Theatre play called Way Station produced on BBC Radio 4. He wrote more radio plays and later began writing novels. He is married with two children, Sarah and Thomas, and lives in Brighton.

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