Thursday, 22 September 2011

Oh for goodness' sake ( … or, a Literary Expert writes… )

Now look. It's quite simple. I shall explain.


  • Not all Scottish novelists are the same person, though two of them are. (Or perhaps a single body with two heads, like Zaphod Beeblebrox. Maybe one head is called Iain and the other Iain M. I am perhaps a little unclear on the details.)
  • Not all novelists called Ian or Iain are necessarily Scottish, though they may be.
  • Not all novelists with Scottish-sounding names are necessarily Scottish, though they may be.
  • Not all novelists who wrote quite odd first novels which I initially rather hated are necessarily in any of the above categories, though, again, it is not impossible that they are.
  • Mainstream novelists and science-fiction writers are two entirely separate species, in fact they couldn't even interbreed in the unlikely event that they tried. What? No, be quiet, Tamsin, I am teaching.

I'm hardly confused about any of this.

A History of the World in 9½ Weeks and 10½ Chapters (parrot optional)

This is really the graduate-level stuff now so concentrate hard and try to stay with me.

  • Right. The Wasp Factory and The Cement Garden are two different novels by, get this, two different novelists. Really.

My extensive experience in Thinking About Books And Stuff suggests that once you've got this one cracked, it's game over - you don't have to attend the rest of the course, and may print out your certificate at home.

Summary and conclusions

I trust that this is all now perfectly clear. I hope you have enjoyed having my literary expertise shared with you. Another time I shall explain sculpture to you, or perhaps opera. I have plenty more searing insights like those recorded above.

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