Friday, 17 December 2010

Opening Paragraph from my novel "Casting Shadows"

The opening paragraph of my novel Casting Shadows

Chapter One

The room was tight and suffocating. I could feel the weight of the walls press down hard on my chest. The white walls and floors were blinding and if such whiteness had a smell, it would be the smell of this small room. The sun spilled through the bars, creating sharp line prints to cascade along the floor and the table where we sat. I avoided eye contact and focused on the train horn blare away in the distance, the familiar sound which created a sense of safety throughout my stay. Now it sounded too loud and too fast. I watched two of the doctors as they talked between themselves, the third ruffled his papers, the way that people of importance do. We were waiting for Sally. My stomach churned and my toes curled tightly in my pale blue slippers at the thought of having to stay a moment longer. I chanted my soon chant; soon I would be out and no longer smell this white and see these faces. Soon I would be out there again. Soon.

©Zehra Cranmer

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Current Read

Not once did I feel let down by Bolano's 2666, and I truly felt this as I came to the last pages of it last night in bed, I screamed, "no, this can't be the end!" but alas, it was. I closed the book with a huge sigh and placed it on my bedside table. It's a different table to the one that I placed it on when I first bought it, it has travelled far, and I know that I want to keep it there for a long time. I hope to find the book in five parts so I can carry it around with me and read parts of it again. So onwards I shall go, onwards with Amy Sackville's The Still Point it has big shoes to fill.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Article- Freedom

Literature │ What’s in a name?

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

(published in "Avrupa" newspaper)

I don’t usually cave in to pressure when it comes to “must reads,” but it was impossible to turn anywhere without the title Freedom and Franzen being flashed. He was in every paper, every board and so forth, so I thought that I ought to find out what all the fuss was about, and I did. It’s not a small book, but I’ve read larger and greater ones.

Freedom is essentially a story focused on the marriage of Walter and Patty Berglund; their responsibilities to one another, to their family, and to themselves. It’s a book about dreams, ones trying to be achieved and ones that seem to be lost forever. The characters seem to be blind to everything until they decide to open their eyes, and that’s when the question arises, is it too late?

There is no doubt that Franzen is a good writer, he once said in an interview that he finds writing hard and that every time he sits down to write a book, it’s like writing for the first time and it can be a struggle and this can be seen from time to time. There are moments in the story which you imagine to be to a great extent, Franzen’s own thoughts rather than his characters, and you can almost sense his questioning of how far he should delve into a situation, a thought, an action, or whether he ought to brush over it swiftly.

As a reader, I enjoy to be transported far away, but that seems to be impossible with this novel, it is not one for those of you out there who are desperately seeking to leave behind reality. It is a brutally honest account of human nature; of jealousy, of desire and many of life’s let downs. Once you get past the realisation that you shan’t be transported to that other world, you become submerged and almost drown in the life of those on the page.

Franzen is exceptionally talented when it comes to capturing the human disposition although it can be ugly at times causing one to cringe and long to not continue along the track that he has devised for us to ride along, yet one does continue, all the way till the end. Some readers believe that the last one hundred pages could have been left out, at first I believed that the last two hundred pages could have been left out, along with a scenario where a character is digging through his own excrement in search of his wedding ring that he had accidently swallowed. We can forgive Franzen for such strange scenarios, maybe he knows of such events from real life, either way, he carried it all off very well. This book stirred an eerie sense of love and hate, but in the end, the book was worth picking up and reading till the end.

©Zehra Cranmer


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