Book Jacket

 

rank 1578
word count 36931
date submitted 11.08.2011
date updated 15.12.2012
genres: Literary Fiction, Non-fiction, Trav...
classification: universal
incomplete

Crumbling Country

Juliet Blaxland

The cliff is crumbling; society is crumbling; England is crumbling; but can old-fashioned values triumph against a tide of modernity during one sunny Suffolk summer?

 

This is the England of sunlit uplands and daisies on lawns, of Ladybird Books and P.G. Wodehouse, of plimsolls and wooden tennis rackets, where village cricket still happens and blue wheelie-bins overflow bounteously on a hot summer's day...

There is a recycling crisis in the outbuildings, and the local dearth of a crucial ingredient for making elderflower cordial is a bit of a trial. An unidentified livestock-worrying creature may be on the prowl in this gentle landscape, and some prize-winning free-range pigs need to be rounded up and rescued off the beach. An artistic crop circle is slain by the roar of big yellow combines, making clouds of harvest dust in the great drought. The church is empty, hunting has been banned and inventive fund-raising ideas are running dry. To cap it all, people no longer seem able to write proper thank-you letters.

The country is clearly going to the dogs; but a stiff upper lip and the solid old-fashioned values of rural England will surely prevail over the transient irritations of modern life...



Cold Comfort Farm hides Straw Dogs in the woodshed.
[Complete manuscript available]

 
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animals, beach, church, countryside, cricket, dogs, england, erosion, farming, food, greyhounds, history, horses, hounds, humour, hunting, nature, phi...

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35 comments

 

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Earl Carlson wrote 685 days ago

I confess, I was first attracted to your page by your avitar, but after reading only the first chapter of Crumbling Country, I have placed your book on my shelf and given it six stars. I am truly impressed by your understated humor and your mastery of the language. I will recommend your book to all my friends. Thank you for a wonderful read.

Earl Carlson

By the way, I would appreciate it if you could find the time to take a look at one of my books, World Enough and Time, or In This Crisis.

grantdavid wrote 748 days ago

"Does the church clock still stand at ten to three?
And is there honey still for tea?"
Juliet, your book has Rupert Brooke's deep nostalgia but without the tragic undertones of his wartime background. Instead it can be seen as a "flash-forward" to an even sadder reflection - a crumbling rather than a crushing fatality. So the cheerfully ironical observations of our gradually out-dated yet cherished assumptions still hit home.
Problem is: the paradox of "Lit-fic."-"Fic." - not just for the market, but for our readers' take on it.
Worth six stars for the beautiful writing, and plonked on my watch list.
David Grant,
"Pompey Chimes"

femmefranglaise wrote 784 days ago

Hi Juliet, I absolutely love this on so many levels; the humour, the irreverance, the flowing prose, the descriptions that take me back to my own country upbringing. You have wonderful powers of observation. I started reading expecting a novel but what I got was so much better than that. Part memoir, part travelogue but all totally charming. Sterling work. Highly starred and will go on my bookshelf in my next reshuffle. And I never got a space hopper either... or a pony come to think of it!

Melanie
La Vie en Rosé

Elizabeth.NYC wrote 749 days ago

Crumbling Country is the first book I've read on the site that I would label charming. I was swept into a vacation/dream world and with your fluid prose I experienced it all so vividly. I feel now that we live in such a wonderful world, although I do wish I was in your world at this moment and not in mine (Brooklyn, New York).
Not only is this story visually beautiful, but your narrative style is flawless. You have a great sense of comic timing, and everything is woven together so naturally I never felt you were really trying to be funny. I'd like to give some advice, but I wouldn't change a thing.
Brava,
Lizzi

Wussyboy wrote 795 days ago

Hi Juliet! I just read your first two chapters, really enjoyed them. There's some really fine writing here, and it's edited to a very high standard, which is always a good sign. I spent some time in Suffolk in the 70s, somehow missed getting a Space Hopper, and felt through your marvellous descriptive touches a definite twang of nostalgia! Yes, I have to agree with Claire (Lyman) a goodly amount of narrative could be sacrificed if you want to attract more readers, and the other comments re injecting more early dialogue and 'hooking' with the Space Hopper story are also imvho valid, but there is a persuasive, wonderfully 'English', quality to your prose (shades of Wodehouse or Jerome perhaps?) that I personally find very charming. High stars, and hope to shelve after your next edit.

Joe Kovacs
Rupee Millionaires

(one small suggest: how about injecting one or two characters to bounce your MC off? I can see this as a kind of 'Three Men in a Boat' affair - you definitely share Jerome's observational wit!)

Geowonderland wrote 307 days ago

Juliet,
You have a very original style of writing. I never thought that some nostalgic story could be so absorbing. Obviously, it's very well-written. High stars.
Best wishes,
Aneta

Tottie Limejuice wrote 389 days ago

Love the style of this, so much I can relate to. Happy to back it as I believe it deserves to do well.

Tottie Limejuice
Sell the Pig

Tottie Limejuice wrote 395 days ago

I've had this on my watch list for some time but only just got round to reading the first two chapters. What an absolute delight! I love the quirky style, there is so much about it to which I can relate.

Beautifully written, very few errors so far. Just one grammatical point with which I would take issue, in Ch 2. "...to hold The Flagship, Giles and I responsible." Giles and me, surely? Direct object.

Have given it high stars and will be back to read more when doubtless it will make its way from my watch list to my book shelf.

Tottie LImejuice
Sell the Pig

Su Dan wrote 508 days ago

great writing- perfect voice...very good book...
...backed...
read SEASONS...

Lenny Banks wrote 669 days ago

Hi Juliette, I read chapter 9. I loved the passage, it was like the ramblings of a stir-crazy middle aged abandoned woman. Yet it held all of the emotions I could find. You are a powerful writer and it felt like you were writing down real experiences of a real person. I have spent time in Norfolk and saw some of the cliff collapse. There are several streets where a row of houses used to lead somewhere, and now they lead nowhere, crumbling one by one into the sea, very powerful memories of my visits there as I read, Thank You.

Good Luck I am sure you will do well. High Stars
Kindest Regards and Best Wishes
Lenny Banks - Time and Time: At The Rock

Earl Carlson wrote 685 days ago

I confess, I was first attracted to your page by your avitar, but after reading only the first chapter of Crumbling Country, I have placed your book on my shelf and given it six stars. I am truly impressed by your understated humor and your mastery of the language. I will recommend your book to all my friends. Thank you for a wonderful read.

Earl Carlson

By the way, I would appreciate it if you could find the time to take a look at one of my books, World Enough and Time, or In This Crisis.

Karamak wrote 735 days ago

Made me even more homesick! Lovely, feel good read. 5 chapters tonight will read more, V highly stared.
Karamak Faking it in France

Melissa Writes wrote 737 days ago

This is very well-written and full of detailed imagery. I especially love the description of The Flagship, it has such an air of nostalgia and loss but this is brilliantly balanced with humour. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Crumbling Country.
Melissa
Lessons in the Dark

Ivan Riverski wrote 740 days ago

Juliet
Dipped into CRUMBLING COUNTRY and ended up reading all ten chapters - although I think I must definitely eat more carrots for the font in Chapters 4 and 10 cannot be read at three feet. I need stronger glasses clearly...
It is a series of diary interludes seemingly across a Summer but like the well known (?) 1968 classic Burt Lancaster film 'The Swimmer' (where he swims across a series of ever murkier swimming pools to reach his home) it becomes an allegory of a life times experience, linked by an thread of crumbling values in society, and a wistful harking back to a less complicated and unsullied world of the past.
Although there is little in the way of plot (in a conventional fiction writing sense) the book captures the atmosphere of old England and entices the reader to remember their own upbringing and value choices.
The writing is beautiful and the observation finely tuned. An enjoyable and thought provoking read. Six starred.
Ivan

outofprintwriter wrote 746 days ago

Hi Juliet
I have a confession to make ... I am an impatient reader. I like to know fairly early on where a book may be heading. But you made me slow down instead and enjoy your prose in the first two chapters. You are a very fine writer, with excellent observational skills. Each sentence is considered and so well crafted and you have obviously worked very hard on refining your first couple of chapters. I particularly enjoyed your descriptions of their old-style upbringing.

I must admit that I have skipped ahead to spot read a couple of chapters to see where this is going. Perhaps you could include a few more hooks in your synopsis to give readers an idea of what happens to your main character - it helps to provide some context when reading your book perhaps? Think about what are the dilemmas that your character encounters? I would perhaps like to have seen your main character interact with other people earlier on, as this helps also to develop character - to see how they react to others, and often reveals things about them without having to say it.

For your fine writing however, I am giving rating your book highly!

Best wishes

Rowena
Searching for Von Honningsbergs

grantdavid wrote 748 days ago

"Does the church clock still stand at ten to three?
And is there honey still for tea?"
Juliet, your book has Rupert Brooke's deep nostalgia but without the tragic undertones of his wartime background. Instead it can be seen as a "flash-forward" to an even sadder reflection - a crumbling rather than a crushing fatality. So the cheerfully ironical observations of our gradually out-dated yet cherished assumptions still hit home.
Problem is: the paradox of "Lit-fic."-"Fic." - not just for the market, but for our readers' take on it.
Worth six stars for the beautiful writing, and plonked on my watch list.
David Grant,
"Pompey Chimes"

Elizabeth.NYC wrote 749 days ago

Crumbling Country is the first book I've read on the site that I would label charming. I was swept into a vacation/dream world and with your fluid prose I experienced it all so vividly. I feel now that we live in such a wonderful world, although I do wish I was in your world at this moment and not in mine (Brooklyn, New York).
Not only is this story visually beautiful, but your narrative style is flawless. You have a great sense of comic timing, and everything is woven together so naturally I never felt you were really trying to be funny. I'd like to give some advice, but I wouldn't change a thing.
Brava,
Lizzi

Lacydeane wrote 752 days ago

Your writing is beautiful, like poetry. I loved it. I don't know anything about the area you write about, but assuming it is real, I find this to be as a diary, or a history lesson, but so much more interesting. Everything flowed. Brilliant word choice. Highest stars. Lacy

katemb wrote 754 days ago

Juliet
Lovely quirky humour, close observation and beautiful writing! As a child of the seventies and someone who even now has in her house that metal sign that ends 'please don't forget - it isn't done!' I couldn't help loving this. I lived in Suffolk for 5 years too! And read almost every PG Wodehouse book. Your writing also had a flavour of I Capture the Castle in the early chapters.
That said, I found myself wanting more character and more hints of a plot. That's a traditional fiction reader approach though and maybe says more about my limits as a reader than yours as a writer.
I'm giving your writing lots of stars.
Best,
Kate

Mooderino wrote 754 days ago

I think the writing flows well and it has a strong voice, but there isn't a very strong throughline, so hard to get any momentum going. What it feels like is a set of disparate thoughts held together by a theme but no narrative link (Islamabad, space hopper, cricket on the green). Some of those thoughts are interesting, some are amusing, but a lot are quite convoluted or go on for too long, imo.

For example, the views on the UK Theme are fair enough and evoke a kind of elegiac feeling, but it felt excessive for the point you were making. It's easy to describe how a person dresses if you list every item of clothes they are wearing, it draws a perfect picture, but it's very tedious to read. The trick is to be able to sum up their appearance in just an item or two. Here, it felt like you wanted to make sure your point was understood, so you mentioned everything you could think of on the subject. I would suggest it would have greater impact if you selected the bits that worked the best and cut the rest. It tends to be a reluctance to make the hard editing choices that leads to overwriting. Take up all the space you need, but not all the space you want.

I'm not saying any of it was bad, just overwritten. When someone tries to explain something from every conceivable angle it suggests an insecurity in the writer that they won't be understood unless they hammer the point home.

You start the second chapter with a lot of backstory which meandered a bit. Again this smacked of insecurity. In order for you to appreciate the story I'm about to tell you, first you have to understand what it was like growing up... that sort of thing. If you constantly keep stepping backwards (before I tell you that let me tell you this. Actually first you need to know this other thing...) it makes it gives the impression (possibly wrongly) you aren't confident the story can stand on its own.

None of the stuff I'm pointing out may be the slightest bit true, but I'm trying to give an idea of how it came across (to me). I have no doubt there's lots of good stuff here, and the writing is exceptionally easy to read, but it's buried under so many caveats, asides and justifications that the pace feels very slow and hard to stay engaged with.

Possibly you intend this as a series of essays and thoughts on the state of the nation (nothing wrong with that) but you jump around from one idea to another and I couldn't really see much of a connection or a direction. There's some very good descriptions of country life, kind of a collage effect, but I didn't really get why you were describing it all since you would then switch tacks and describe something else entirely.

To be honest I struggled with it, but then I'm more of a city person so perhaps I didn't approach it the right way.

Best of luck with it.

regards,
mood

Paul Beattie wrote 762 days ago

Really enjoyed this, Juliet. Highly starred and on my watchlist for further reading.

The prose feels extremely polished – I don’t think I noticed any typos, formatting problems etc - with an engagingly conversational, almost chatty feel. Not that the writing feels lightweight. There’s a quirky elegance to much of the phrasing (eg ‘frozen, defrosted, frozen, not chosen’) which feels, on one level, reassuringly familiar and, on another, quite challenging, almost disturbing. I really like the oddball comedy and the pervading sense of a slightly surreal, off kilter world. If I were to make any criticism – and I really am stretching here – it’s that, although the writing feels fresh and original and is imbued with terrific comic energy, some of the paragraphs (particularly the more deliberately comic ones) have a certain rhythm about them (expansive ruminations on the ridiculousness of modern life, followed by a single, snappy, almost punchline-like declarative sentence to round things off) which, while very effective in isolation, can become familiar after a while, thereby lessening the comic/dramatic effect of the paragraph. Maybe something to watch out for??

Initially at least, I wasn’t 100% certain whether this was a modern piece or an example of semi-historical fiction (despite the more recent cultural references, there’s a definite sense of Britain from a bygone age, maybe 1930s, 1950s??) or maybe even an imagined vision of a catastrophe-ravaged Britain (post plague? war? blight?) from the near future. Although I'm sure this oddball, chocolate-box depiction of Britain is deliberate, the fact the reader isn’t sure when it’s actually set does rather undermine the terrifically surreal comedy and subtle socio-political commentary of your opening. Maybe include the year in the heading of chapter one to avoid confusion ??

The dialogue feels real and purposeful and mirrors the wry, sardonic tone of the prose. I do think, however, that the initial chapters feel a bit prose-heavy (I think we have to wait until chapter five for the first real conversational exchange??) and maybe you could weave a little more dialogue, even if it’s in flashback, into the early chapters. Just a thought.

The plot, such as I can make out from your blurb, certainly feels original and ambitious, with plenty of scope for surrealist comedy and jaded, slightly cynical social commentary. To be honest, though, I can’t really discern much plot from the opening chapters and, while I’m really enjoying what I’m reading, I’m enjoying the scenes in isolation without any definite sense of a concerted, settled narrative arc.

In many ways, this doesn’t feel like a piece of fiction. It feels much more like a deliberately dubious memoir, or maybe even an extended version of a Sunday supplement magazine article lamenting the state of modern Britain?? (I note from your genre tags that CC is listed as both lit fic and non-fiction which does rather suggest it isn’t meant to be read as pure fiction??) I’m sure all of this is deliberate on your part, Juliet, but I do have a sneaking suspicion you’re making things unnecessarily hard for yourself and, if the book had a slightly more traditional, novelistic structure, your undeniable comic and literary talents would have much more universal appeal.

Thanks and best of luck with this. P

FRAN MACILVEY wrote 766 days ago

Dear Juliet

What wonderful, tongue-in-cheek writing you have given us in "Crumbling Country". Without seeming to try too hard, you open up a world of the faded gentility, your style of humorous understatement perfectly suited to your story.

I have read your first two chapters and was reminded of many things: old fashioned quilts and bed linen smelling faintly of pomanders and moth balls, the boarding school lottery, the space hoppers, the stiff upper lips in the face of uncertainty. Thank you for conjuring these memories so deftly.

I rate this highly and hope it will do well.

Fran Macilvey, "Trapped"


Lucy Middlemass wrote 767 days ago

Hi Juliet,

I've read three chapters as you were kind enough to say you'd read some of my work and so I thought I'd let you know what I thought.

I think you must already know what a high standard of writing this is, and how well edited. There are none of those distracting grammatical errors, just an enjoyable and gently humourous description of English country life.

I'm not sure if it's a story, or a memoir and I had some trouble working out who the narrator is (is it a man or a woman? I'm not sure I decided even that - seems maybe be the partner of a Giles? But has filial duties?) but the space hopper story and the details about childhood and the cricket match, the church and the food are all so wonderfully described that I wasn't too concerned. I'm not used to being addressed directly in a novel either (for example, being invited to picture The Flagship) but I quite liked this. There's nothing wrong with unusual, after all!

"While the rest of the globe broods over mankind and the catastrophe, England ruminates on manners and the apostrophe." Well, you might earn some time on my bookshelf just for that. I loved it - have you considered making it your short pitch?

A minor point but the paragraph starting "I can't imagine..." (Ch1) is one long sentence which I had to reread.

Oh, and surely no one really believes that the working class are in a different position from higher classes because of some prehistoric laziness or fear? I know it was written somewhat tongue in cheek but it's a strange point to make and surely likely to put some readers off? Better not to alienate a swathe of British people? I'm confused whether this is your voice or your character's. I don't agree with it, but that doesn't mean I didn't like reading it!

Highly starred and likely to make my shelf at some point.

Lucy

uncas wrote 774 days ago

Well done Juliet, this is a lovely piece of work and very pertinent to the current situation - I wish you well with it. Among other things, I am creating a geoscience imagebase of Britain to document our natural landscapes and coastline as they are. So far, around 3000 high quality images - and I already see changes.
My humble offering on Authonomy is concerned with conservation at a broader level and is entitled "In the Shadow of Inspiration" - you might like it.
Good luck with all your endeavours,
Kind regards,
Uncas

James Workman wrote 778 days ago

Charming and well written (high stars). Reading it is like a holiday in the area--slow down, smell the sea air and the sheep for that matter. The problem of the relevance of the church--an area of interest to me--is nailed (ouch!). If I just wanted to read one thing, this could be it.

James Workman
Christopher Hitchens At Heaven--Atheist Meets Jesus
authonomy.com/books/41994/christopher-hitchens-at-heaven-atheist-meets-jesus/

Iva P. wrote 784 days ago

I love Wodehouse and Cold Comfort Farm so I looked forward to reading the book, but this is just too arcane for someone who never lived in England. I suppose that locals found their bearings in the first chapter - I did not. I did, however, benefit from the read as it reminded me that civilized life is made of thousands small and endangered things like thank you notes.

Iva P / Fame and Infamy

femmefranglaise wrote 784 days ago

Hi Juliet, I absolutely love this on so many levels; the humour, the irreverance, the flowing prose, the descriptions that take me back to my own country upbringing. You have wonderful powers of observation. I started reading expecting a novel but what I got was so much better than that. Part memoir, part travelogue but all totally charming. Sterling work. Highly starred and will go on my bookshelf in my next reshuffle. And I never got a space hopper either... or a pony come to think of it!

Melanie
La Vie en Rosé

femmefranglaise wrote 784 days ago

Hi Juliet, I absolutely love this on so many levels; the humour, the irreverance, the flowing prose, the descriptions that take me back to my own country upbringing. You have wonderful powers of observation. I started reading expecting a novel but what I got was so much better than that. Part memoir, part travelogue but all totally charming. Sterling work. Highly starred and will go on my bookshelf in my next reshuffle. And I never got a space hopper either... or a pony come to think of it!

Melanie
La Vie en Rosé

FrancesK wrote 787 days ago

Goo to heck, gel! You got it all here! Except Colonel Condor's Fete [bowling for pig and the June Glennie Dancers]... ah Nolly's Pet Shop! Where we always bought our guinea pigs! And the church at Blythburgh [also figures in a key scene in Dollywagglers which I might just have to upload here now I have read this]. Every line rings true. Did you also swim in the sea by the outlets at Sizewell, where the water always came out lovely and warm and those funny fish sometimes swam past? And has the Flagship now fallen into the sea, along with the cliffs of Covehithe? If you were to go round the literary festivals of Suffolk [well, maybe just Latitude, if that's the only one] you would be an instant celebrity and sell loads of hand-duplicated books off the back of your wheelbarrow. But, possibly, for the reader who is not instantly transported back to those days of fairisle cardigans from Pipes in Wrentham and Nutbrown Ale at the Bells in Walberswick, there might be a lingering need for more forward movement in the plotting department, and a more recognisable character arc for your protagonist... this is lovely stuff though. I might just have to shelve it, for old times' sake. I've done puppet shows all round the Saints at those long-dead fetes.... happy days. Thanks for bringing them back, Juliet.

engine143 wrote 787 days ago

Hi Juliet!

Many thanks for commenting on 'Green and Pleasant' and for backing it! It looks as though we are on much the same wavelength. I read your first chapter with great pleasure, finding that it flowed beautifully and was very well written. It did make me want to learn more. Along with others it seems, I got a bit bogged down in chapter two and I wonder if some of the text here, for example on the hierarchy, etc., might do better later on as a more direct comment on later action?

All in all splendid stuff. It's on my bookshelf and I will definitely be reading more.

Good luck with it!

Tony

Lucy Heath wrote 791 days ago

Hi Juliet,
I've just read Chs 1 and 2 and had a quick peek at some of the rest. I absolutely love your opening chapter with its beautiful language, the tone of the narrator and the slightly dry wit. Personally I wouldn't change it too much. When it comes to Ch 2 I'd echo what others have said about perhaps adding dialogue or maybe making more of the childhood space hopper episode which has great quirky potential. The last sentence of Ch 1 is lovely, but I think you need to emphasise the significance of the washed up buoy if it’s the first thing that ‘happens here’. A great job overall though. Backed and will read more.
Lucy

Wussyboy wrote 795 days ago

Hi Juliet! I just read your first two chapters, really enjoyed them. There's some really fine writing here, and it's edited to a very high standard, which is always a good sign. I spent some time in Suffolk in the 70s, somehow missed getting a Space Hopper, and felt through your marvellous descriptive touches a definite twang of nostalgia! Yes, I have to agree with Claire (Lyman) a goodly amount of narrative could be sacrificed if you want to attract more readers, and the other comments re injecting more early dialogue and 'hooking' with the Space Hopper story are also imvho valid, but there is a persuasive, wonderfully 'English', quality to your prose (shades of Wodehouse or Jerome perhaps?) that I personally find very charming. High stars, and hope to shelve after your next edit.

Joe Kovacs
Rupee Millionaires

(one small suggest: how about injecting one or two characters to bounce your MC off? I can see this as a kind of 'Three Men in a Boat' affair - you definitely share Jerome's observational wit!)

Philchurch77 wrote 799 days ago

Hi Juliet,

I enjoyed reading your opening chapter today and I love the way you are building a picture of England through some of our finest traditions and superstitions. It is certainly the kind of book I like to read and I am keen to support other English writers. I have left you some stars and will try to make some room on my bookshelf for some good, old-fashioned English humour (I also love Wodehouse. He was a genius).

All the best,

Phil

scargirl wrote 800 days ago

nice fuzzy feelings of an ideal world that no longer exists but in small places....
j
what every woman should know

Juliet Blaxland wrote 800 days ago

Dear Michael,
Thank you so much for your kind crit, and I'm glad to seem to enjoy the intended surreal (or hyper-real) version of extra-traditional England, which is Suffolk only slightly tweaked and exaggerated for comic effect. We really are like that here. I hope you will enjoy the big black greyhound-or-panther pig-murder mystery, to add to the black dog library. I shall start reading yours now...

I really enjoyed this, Juliet. Highly starred and shelved. The prose is extremely smooth with a quirky elegance to much of the phrasing. Love the subtle comic moments and the overall feeling of a slightly surreal, offbeat world. At the beginning, I was a little unsure as to whether this was a modern or period piece (or maybe even a sci-fi vision of the near future??) Although I'm sure it was your intention to create an off-kilter vision of Britain, one that harks back to a bygone age, maybe you could include the year in the chapter heading to root the reader in the moment? The dialogue when it comes (maybe chapter 5 is a bit too far into the novel for the first conversational exchanges??) feels real and purposeful and, again, reinforces the strange, wryly comic feel of the piece. The plot feels well thought-out and engaging and should appeal to a broad cross-section of readers. Thanks and best of luck with this.

Michael Geddes wrote 800 days ago

I really enjoyed this, Juliet. Highly starred and shelved. The prose is extremely smooth with a quirky elegance to much of the phrasing. Love the subtle comic moments and the overall feeling of a slightly surreal, offbeat world. At the beginning, I was a little unsure as to whether this was a modern or period piece (or maybe even a sci-fi vision of the near future??) Although I'm sure it was your intention to create an off-kilter vision of Britain, one that harks back to a bygone age, maybe you could include the year in the chapter heading to root the reader in the moment? The dialogue when it comes (maybe chapter 5 is a bit too far into the novel for the first conversational exchanges??) feels real and purposeful and, again, reinforces the strange, wryly comic feel of the piece. The plot feels well thought-out and engaging and should appeal to a broad cross-section of readers. Thanks and best of luck with this.

Juliet Blaxland wrote 808 days ago

Dear Claire,
V. helpful... In fact, I haven't looked at it for a long time, so I might be prompted to have a bit of a radical chop-up as if I'd never seen it before...

Hi Juliet
You write well and I love the voice and your original musings, eg on the Space Hopper- what a great topic, and yes, aren't they fab? But I do wonder if large chunks of narrative/description would put people off, particularly at the beginning of the book... I actually wonder whether the space Hopper section might not be better to start with, to draw people in both with its intriguing topic matter and also with its greater sense of "story". Hope that's helpful -if not, ditch it :)

ClaireLyman wrote 809 days ago

Hi Juliet
You write well and I love the voice and your original musings, eg on the Space Hopper- what a great topic, and yes, aren't they fab? But I do wonder if large chunks of narrative/description would put people off, particularly at the beginning of the book... I actually wonder whether the space Hopper section might not be better to start with, to draw people in both with its intriguing topic matter and also with its greater sense of "story". Hope that's helpful -if not, ditch it :)

richard thurston wrote 974 days ago

hi Juliet

This is both charming and engaging.
I greatly enjoyed your easy style and gentle musings.
You have created a wonderful sense of place by interspersing your own thoughts with your clearly much loved abode Flagship.
Right up my PROVERBIAL street and very much dear to my heart being brought up shingle street way and currently residing on the Shotley peninsula in the deep south of the county.

ciao and best wishes


Richard

mapleyther wrote 986 days ago

Juliet, as an Englishman living overseas, your book is something that really appeals to me! I think your short pitch is very relevant just now given all the troubles being experienced. I like your long pitch as well, very evocative of English life but not too cliched, definitely a touch of realism there.

The text is also very pleasing, very "English". I can see it having a wide appeal to Brits and would be Brits alike. I would certainly buy this if it was in a published form - ebook or a "real one". 5 stars and within a whisker of getting on my bookshelf - will have to be on the watchlist for now!

1