Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Dying of Delight: comments on Clare Sudbury's novel

I finished reading this last night and have to say I was gripped to the end. It's a very surreal thriller, but worth persevering with as the narrative swoops and swerves with a lot of vigour and pleasure.

Importantly, I felt a real sense of compassion and interest in the characters - all their foibles and quirks - but especially for the intelligent way in which the novel dealt with conceptions of normality and madness. For this alone it is worth reading.

I would also add that although the phrase "the dying of delight" presents itself from the start - it's the title! - it was only when it occured in the narrative that I was struck by a particular thought. I couldn't get out of my head the character of delirium from Neil Gaiman's Sandman novels: Delirium, who used to be Delight. The connection stuck with me through the rest of my reading and somehow really helped me understand the experiences of Edna and Silver.

When I got to the end Cloud asked what it was about and I replied sex, drugs, madness, the ecilpse and gender identity. I think he was intrigued enough to pick it up (and I will certainly encourage him to do so!) This is a very fine debut novel.

1 comment:

Clare said...

Somebody else once made a connection with that Neil Gaiman character. In this case it was before he'd even read it - just the title put it in his head.

He then had to explain all about this Delight character, and how she mysteriously became Delirium, and how the dying of delight was never quite explained - so pretty reasonable to think my novel might have been filling in the missing link.

But I'd never actually read Gaiman - still haven't. I've never read any graphic novels in fact, although the idea does vaguely appeal. I read a lot of Asterix as a kid.

Thanks for the praise Lisa, it's much appreciated. And hopefully I'll never get over the thrill of thinking that someone has spent a few hours with their nose in, and being entertained by, something I created.

Marvellous.