Highs and lows

The lows:

If only I could com­mu­nic­ate to you the tedi­um of reverse-proof­ing a manu­script. This is the pro­cess whereby you read a manu­script sen­tence-by-sen­tence, but start with the final page and work your way for­ward to the first page. So doing, it is easi­er to catch errors because the nor­mal ‘con­struct­ive’ read­ing pro­cesses (e.g. ima­gin­ing you can see the word ‘of’ when, in fact, the sen­tence does not con­tain it) are not fully engaged.

Bored yet? Try read­ing a nov­el back­wards.

The highs:

No highs for me (unless you count pub­lic­a­tion, which will actu­ally sig­nal noth­ing more than the begin­ning of the mar­ket­ing phase for Deja Vu), but sev­er­al highs for those authors lucky enough to be nom­in­ated for the Man Booker Prize. (At this pont, let me say that I do not hold out even the wild­est hope that Deja Vu will be nom­in­ated; it is a genre nov­el.) One of my favour­ite books of the last two years, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, has been nom­in­ated and is also the favour­ite. I’m extremely pleased about this. The book is a won­der­ful com­pos­ite nov­el that com­prises sev­er­al short stor­ies on the theme of slavery, with char­ac­ters from a 19th cen­tury trav­el­er to a far-future man-on-the-run. One day I might do a full review of the book, but for the time being, I urge people to read it. It is a rare doobery indeed: a piece of exper­i­ment­al fic­tion that tran­scends its exper­i­ment­al­ism.

I haven’t read the oth­er books on the list, but I’ve spent a shock­ing amount on books already this month. My back­log has now reached about fif­teen volumes.

Speaking of which.

Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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