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Posts tagged ‘victoria coren’

Understudies and Quotes (11/05/2012)

I enjoyed One Day a lot, so I got a copy of the The Understudy.

As withA Spot of Bother,sometimes it felt as if it was a little too obvious, but generally, it was really good. In particular, it felt very well structured. I wonder if that comes from writing TV scripts.

‘So, come in’ said Colin, opening the door just wide enough for Stephen to squeeze through. He wondered whether he should wipe his feet, then decided against it. That’ll teach him. 

A case of the little man here – and more of our friend free indirect discourse. I love the minor victory here that Stephen awards to himself here.

Her most recent boyfriend, Owen, an almost catatonically slothful and bitter wannabe screenwriter she had met at the restaurant, had become writer-in-residence on her futon.

The anticlimax works very well here. Just for a second you think this is going sensibly, until you get to “futon”.

He wondered if Nora had felt the same thing too, but judging by the vast quantities of hummus and pitta-bread that she was eating, the emotion that she mainly felt was peckish.

Describing things in non-standard ways is surprisingly effect – thinking of “hunger” as an emotion is quite funny. It reminds me a bit of that Victoria Coren quote:

So you might mistake it for one of those fiddly, sophisticated feelings like schadenfreude or low self-esteem. 

The idea that feelings can be “fiddly” is very clever actually, even if technically makes no sense.

[…] he had a sudden overwhelming need to use the toilet in every way imaginable.

It’s a bit gross this one, but someone the “every way imaginable” removes that “gross out element”, and renders it quite funny instead.

‘More than Adequate’ screamed the critics. ‘Stephen C McQueen is okay!!’ ‘Absolutely Fine, Considering!’ ‘Not Nearly as Bad as Some People Expected.’ ‘He Tried! Really, he did!’ ‘I’ve Seen Worse!!!!’… 

I think I have a soft spot for imagined quotes. In some ways these are a case of critical suggestions by a writer in a novel. 

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