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July 14th, 2009



July 14th, 2009

(no subject)

I don't need any further proof of the genius of my publisher, Marc Gascoigne, but it arrived in the mail last week nontheless.

Thirty years ago, when I was 12-13-14 and a voracious, devouring reader, my dad would take me every week to our local library. I was well beyond the kid's books (there were far fewer options then!) and he let me use up most of his allotment in the grown-up section. This meant I read James Bond and all sorts of thrillers at an earlier age than the librarian thought appropriate, but my dad stood by me and told her I was very mature. What a dad!

One of the books I remember with great clarity is called "Down-Bound Train". I don't know if I re-borrowed it a few times, or how many times I read it, but it seared itself into my psyche. For the last thirty years, every now and then I'd ask at a bookshop for it, or google it, or ask other readers if they've heard of it. No one ever had; it was like this book existed then disappeared.

Until now. The other day, Marc mentioned something on his Facebook about traveling by train. I said, "Not the Down-Bound Train, the book I've been looking for for 30 years."

He said, "Keep an eye out for the mail."

And yes, he's only bloody sent it to me.

And it's just as fantastic as I remember it. Influential, no less. There are five characters; we meet them in a chapter each, describing their sins and their lives. They meet on a train, and things happen.

How did it influence me as a writer? I think the way he tells the story, making it clear from the start that all is not well. The way he builds the characters and makes them central to the plot. The author, by the way, is Bill Garnett. He's written a couple of other books I will have to track down.
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