Saturday, 3 December 2011

Just in case

Just in case you don't have an advent calendar all of your very own, or perhaps you're feeling too bone idle to prise open the little cardboard door...

Here's my picture of the day.

And, no, I'm not going to construct an entire blog around the subject of Christmas trees - although I must mention that for the first time ever EVER, the rooted Christmas tree we bought last year has survived.


The down-side is...there's always a down-side...that I so much love that expedition to choose a tree from Vulcan House Farm and this year there's no need.

But the real reason for the title Just In Case is because last night I finished reading it - the book of that name by Meg Rosoff (Yeah, okay, I'm becoming a bit of a Meg Rosoff bore lately, but console yourself with the fact that it could be, errrm - 'the history of cable-knit cardigans' or 'branches of DFS I have visited,' rather than the assorted works of an extremely good writer.)

N. B. There is another book called Just In Case but that has the subtitle How to be self-sufficient when the Unexpected Happens. I'm sure it's a jolly good read, especially post-apocalyptically, but THIS is the one I meant:

(Only my copy had a much less attractive and somewhat nauseous green cover which doesn't match my blog. Or my hair.)

How I did enjoy this book!

Why I did enjoy this book...apart from the fact that it's a compelling, unpredictable, sometimes troubling story which examines the role of fate in our for the reasons I enjoy anything written by Meg Rosoff. A paltry two of those reasons below:

The magic realism. The world of Justin Case is populated by extraordinary beings - an imaginary dog, an over-large buck rabbit called Alice, Fate as narrator and, my favourite, not extraordinary in himself, but in the way he's characterised - the baby Charlie. Meg has an uncanny ability to be able to get into the minds of non-verbal beings and convey their thought processes so convincingly that it is indisputably TRUE.

The other reason seems a little lame, maybe. It's the vocabulary. Big, long, intelligent words!  Often, when I'm writing, I try to think of simple words to replace the complex ones that come first into my mind - trying to write 'for an audience.'  Meg doesn't. At least, I don't think she does.

Swear words too. I'm wary of using words which might be offensive, even though they're the words that seem natural at the time. Meg isn't.

This all means that her writing is completely authentic. It's in her voice.

It shows.