Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

Tis Christmas and the Season for …

6 Comments

… single writer binges.

I have just emerged from a six-book Liane Moriarty feeding frenzy. Why had I never heard of her before? Anyway, I hadn’t and then serendipitously, she turned up in both my real life and my online book clubs – in the same week. Moriarty is an Australian writer whose novel Big Little Lies (I read it) just debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list. And I can tell you why: her novels are strongly crafted, but not too artsy; her characters are warm and witty and full of foibles that make you want to be friends with them; her plots are intriguing without being full of red herrings and obvious tropes. My only criticism, and it is a mild one, is that they are the most middle-class books I have ever read. Joanna Trollope has been ousted from the pillar of middle-classery. There is nary a poor person, nor a homeless one, nor one of colour in any of the novels. It’s a world of yummy mummies, intrigue at the school gates and shenanigans in the Sydney suburbs. However, and this is what rescues the novels and I’m sure what has shot Moriarty to the top of the bestseller lists, she writes with such teasing wit that her characters laugh at themselves being middle-class at the gates of Sydney schools – and you laugh with them. Comfort reading at its absolute best.

So having sadly finished Moriarty’s entire oeuvre, I wrote to an Australian friend asking if she knew her. She didn’t but she did recommend the next writer into whose work I am now diving – Elena Ferrantes. An Italian whose work was first translated into English in 2012, Ferrantes has become a writing sensation. Described as an angry Jane Austen (you had me at that), Ferrantes has caught the public’s imagination as she refuses to do any publicity or put a face to her name (and she writes superbly). According to Wikipedia, she has admitted that she is a mother, which means she probably is female. I am reading the first of her Neapolitan novels My Brilliant Friend, and have the second and third ready to go on my e-reader. Things are dark and dreary in Ferrante’s work, there is relentless poverty but there are souls that shine out of the darkness. There will be a binge, I can predict it.

Since it is Christmas and things come in trios (wise men, etc), I have a third writer in mind. Both my mother and brother have devoured the Patrick O’ Brian novels, and he has named his Lab puppy Jack Aubrey. In honour of the less famous Jack, I plan to read these next.

Do you have any writers upon whose work you binge?

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Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

6 thoughts on “Tis Christmas and the Season for …

  1. I adore Liane Moriarty! She’s the only writer I’ve ever written a fan email to, and she was lovely enough to write back. So, she has my heart. You’re right that she is very white middle-class, but I tend to think that like most satirists, she gains her power by closing in on a particular segment of society. Elena Ferrantes I’ve long been meaning to read – must get to her in 2015.

  2. ’tis time that I face the fact that my German is not good enough to go beyond the main lines of your plot, and since I don’t want to miss out on the characters and background and atmosphere, so I just bought your book again… in English this time!

  3. I love Liane Moriarty, too! Haven’t read the latest yet but plan to. Elena Ferrantes sounds terrific. I’m not much of a binge reader, for some reason, but I did binge on Janet Evanovich when I first discovered her (at that time, she only had something like six books published), and I binged on Tana French with her first two and have waited impatiently for each new one to come out, dropping everything else to read it when it does.

  4. Litlove and Emily, I can’t wait until both of you read Elena Ferrantes. What a treat lies in store for you.

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