Tuesday, August 02, 2011


Going to Ireland tomorrow, the whole lot of us! I'm bringing library books to read on the trip - very daring, but it's two new (to me) authors that I found and now want to read all of. If that makes sense.

And I just wrote a long post that got accidentally wiped. Fuck. Starting over. Annoyed and brief now.

Bringing Eric Ambler books.  Have read Cause for Alarm, his fourth, am reading Journey Into Fear. From the Pan Classic Crime editions, they have good introductions by Robert Harris and teach me that Ambler was very anti-fascist and long entertained the view that the Soviet Union was the only hope against fascism. He was disillusioned later on and I'm looking forward to reading those books. I don't think he's pro-Soviet in the books in a too glaringly fawning way - I quite enjoy reading a political thriller that gives some credit to the Socialist movement and its fight against fascism. Actually. Anyway, you have to like an author who was a friend of Hitchcock, to the point of Hitchcock arranging his second wedding. Cool.

The second author I'm bringing is Colin Cotterill. (It's bloody easier to spell Mississippi than that surname, by the way.) He writes about a coroner solving crimes in the newly founded People's Republic of Laos, in other words they're set in the past. They've been compared with Alexander McCall Smith's Mma Ramotswe novels, but the similarities lie mostly in them both being white outsiders writing about a country they love but are really not 100 % a part of. Perhaps slightly idealizing? Cotterill's are definitely grittier. On the other hand, maybe he gets away with it because people in general know feck all about Laos. We think we know lots about Vietnam or Thailand, so writing books set in the 1970s there would be trickier, we'd all be having opinions about veracity. I liked them though, I think he shows nicely how much a lot of people hoped that communism would save Laos, and how it started detereorating into the usual totalitarian depressing greyness too soon. He even manages to introduce a supernatural element without it being shite. Well played. His website is great too, worth a look. Oh, and so far I've read Anarchy and Old Dogs.

1 comment:

li'l sis said...

You ARE? Nobody tells me anything... *grumble grumble* Say hi to everybody for me!