William McIlvanney (2006) Weekend.


I didn’t mean to read this book. It was a bit like having a wank, not unpleasant but plodding on and on. Harry Beck, one of the protagonists, is a writer. I’ve nothing against writers. I hold McIlvanney’s book Docherty with great affection. I remember it as a tale of a little man that is a big man, a miner that lives by his own rules. If you asked me anything else about it I’d be found out as a charlatan. The Big Man, well, that was a step down in class. Liam Neeson was in the film. He was a boxer that wasn’t a boxer. Here we have a writer that is not a writer.

Here in brackets is Beck’s thoughts (McIlvanney tends to gloss his character's reactions to events in brackets) when he receives a rejection letter from his publishers ‘(Critics, he had long ago decided, are people who begin by telling you you never had it and end by telling you you’ve lost it)’.

Failure, rejection, all the stuff that makes us human, wrapped up in a writer’s convention. The characters have run through me. The message is we are animal and human, a hybrid breed and to ignore one is to untrue to oneself. Not a bad idea. Writing McIlvanney/Beck declares is a pursuit in which we find ourselves.  Cheers Big Man.


This made my morning. It's your style of attack that does it. 


It's funny Vera how you pick up a book and don't intent to read any more, put it down, go back, read another snippet, decide it's not for you, and then it's finished. Well, maybe not funny.


Reminds me of nagging toothache. Just took me four weeks to get through Emma Healey's 'Elizabeth is Missing.' I went missing halfway through, forgot who the characters are, had to back track chapters. Can only assume I got temporary memory problems like the main character. Not type of plot you'd fall for. Could be wrong, but 99% sure.


Interesting debate in the Observer (The Hawkin's Index no less). http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jul/12/should-you-finish-every-boo...

Reading for me is a pleasure and not a chore. When it becomes a chore I stop reading. Well, that's the theory!


Loved the article. I always feel some guilt and defeat if I don't finish a book. I see it's quite pathetic of me.