The Secret Scripture not flawed says judge

Writer Lisa Jewell has written quite a passionate piece in The Telegraph in defence of claims that Sebastian Barry's Costa winning novel, The Secret Scripture, was 'flawed' and, in any case, what isn't flawed? That reminds me, yesterday afternoon I was mooching around Highgate and entered a bookshop where the woman who worked in there and a male friend of hers whom she obviously wasn't that close to, and in any case hadn't seen in ages, had popped in with his dog and were chit-chatting politely but with that slight undercurrent of strain. The shop was so quiet that I couldn't help but overhear their entire conversation. After him trying to chat her up, then her tell him that she was already seeing someone now after getting rid of her last feckless boyfriend, and then him quickly backtracking, then her trying to make him feel better for having asked in the first place, and them him resenting her trying to make him feel better for having asked, they quickly too cue from their surroundings and moved onto books! He told her he was writing one. He had, so far, 'done forty pages' which had helped him quie a lot since he was made bankrupt and gave up his 'coking' habit and didn't go out very much now at all anyway, except to see a friend up in Norfolk once a week who had been 'very supportive' and of course, to take his dog out. 'Brilliant...' she replied, her arms crossed. 'Yeah... my agent thinks so...' 'You've got an agent?' woman asks. 'Yeah, she's thinks it's really good...' 'Great...' 'Yeah, it's like an autobiographical novel...' 'Great...' 'Yeah. Did you see what won that prize last night?' 'Oh yeah right, the Whitbreads?' 'The... the what? No, no...' 'Yeah, the Whitbread you mean? Or the other one?' 'Not Whitbread.... COSTA! That's it! Yeah well, the book that won it, Irish. Again.' 'Oh right, what's it about?' 'Some story set in Ireland. Again.' 'Oh right...' 'Yeah... the Irish! Should have gone to the poem.... some poem about... some uprising...' 'Yeah but it's probably just as well it didn't, some of those poems are so obscure... we're lucky if we sell one copy!'
And so on. I didn't buy a book but I did want to shout 'you mean The Secret Scripture - yes. Irish. Again'. Anyway... I hope he gets more done than forty pages and that if his eventual book ever does well then he is better at talking about books with interviewers than he is with bookshop workers who are also not-seen-in-ages-friends. I did buy a book today though. On Amazon. The Outlander, by Gil Adamson. I have to say the feeling I gleaned from the overview reminded me of the novella I wrote last year - 'Tired Waves...' but mine was quite spare and without the dramatic plot that The Outlander seems to have. I bought the hardback simply on the review that appeared in Waterstone's magazine. I know they're not 'proper' reviews in there, as they are all overwhelmingly positive in order to get people simply to buy. Well it worked. Again. But it seems I cannot resist any story about a person running away to the wilderness! Read more here.

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