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2 December 2009


Don't Think Just Write

And Silver Linings

The two go together in a writers' life, like in many others. Rainclouds and silver linings. I'm a great believer in positive thinking, which is fine when I'm feeling positive. But every so often that nasty gremlin visits that says 'Oh no Jo Lamb, you are not a writer....' usually accompanied by the latest rejection. I've just had my fourth this month for my first novel (third if I want to be precise, one agent has closed to submission because of the volume) and it never gets any easier. I keep telling myself the next one will be THE one but it still hurts and starts that niggle of self doubt. I won't let it linger for long however, I sweep off that terrible demon with one swipe and start looking for the next opportunity. If you let it get to you, you'd never write... and that would be no life at all.

Book Review

Well almost back to normal then...

Charlotte Gray By Sebastian Faulks

I love this book, even more on the second reading. The film is not a patch on it especially the ending which for me was more than the right one. I think it's a shame it wasn't represented properly on the DVD but then again, I'm not a script writer. But with a book which is so widely read, it's a little disappointing for viewers.

It's basically a love affair set in England and France during World War II. But it is so much more than a love affair we read about. I love the character of Charlotte who in one sense appears so fragile with the unspoken hint of childhood abuse by her psychiatrist father which led to teenage depression. Yet on the other hand the Scottish lass with a love of France signs up as a 'courier' come spy to try and find her lover who has been lost on a flying mission. Charlotte is honest about her feelings for her mother, which don't amount to much and sticks out in a crowd for her interesting personality. It is this that attracts Peter Gregory a fighter pilot struggling with his continued success at keeping off the death statistic list for his profession and his guilt for friends lost. The love he feels for Charlotte frightens him so much that he takes on a mission which puts him at risk. But it is only then that he realises and accepts his feelings for her.

My favourite character however, is the old French Jew Levade, who takes on Charlotte when she stays in France after her mission is finished to find Peter. Although it is Levades son with whom Charlotte eventually succumbs to - you can feel the tensions during her conversations with his father who is a painter and has lost his muse. You feel he has found a new one in Charlotte, yet he never paints her. He is brutal in his questioning and philosphy on life, yet Charlotte responds only how she can, honestly and without apology.

This tale however is as much about the lost love affair of France with itself, the internal fighting and the barbaric ways people start to treat each other when power is involved. And with this comes the treatment of the Jews during that time. I still find it hard to read these accounts like these. In the book two young French Jewish boys are seperated from their parents. Charlotte helps to hide them but cannot save them from their fate. I still find it hard to believe that only 70 years ago, such dreadful atrocites were committed on other people whose only difference was their heritage. A race that has been around for hundreds and hundreds of years. How the complete disrespect of human life happened in the twentieth century? It goes on in other countries I know, even now, but somehow this is close to home, part of our lives that we know now. It's relevant. How do you explain that to future generations? Impossible to understand and explain but we should not forget. It is through books like this that we must continue to expose ourselves to the reality of the Second World War and not allow its lessons to die with the generations who lived through it.

Happy Writing

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