To love some writers’ work can be a password to a select club; a sign to those that know that you are one of them. That’s how I feel about the novels of Robert Edric. He has written nineteen novels. He regularly receives wonderful reviews. He has been long-listed for the Booker prize. So why isn’t he better known? It might be because unlike some novelists he shuns the limelight. He rarely gives interviews, doesn’t make bad-tempered statements about the state of modern fiction, the terrible overuse of the present tense, ghosted celebrity novels, or (insert favourite issue here). In truth he prefers to focus on writing his next book. It might also be as each of his books is very different in setting from the last – the First World War, colonial Congo, 19th-century Cumbria, 100 years into the future, the mean streets of Hull, to name a few. But each is marked out by the beauty of his prose. For me there is a wonderful stillness to his writing, a thoughtfulness to each sentence – each of which is so carefully crafted that it feels like the most natural thing to read. And if you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe the Daily Telegraph: ‘Edric’s work constitutes one of the most astonishing bodies of work to have appeared from a single author for a generation.’ If you haven’t discovered him yet, can I suggest starting with my favourite, Peacetime.
Posted on 2nd November 2010
Fiction Uncovered by… Simon Thorogood, Editorial Director, Bantam Press
No comments yet.