“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Semantics, She Wrote

One of the benefits of running a books blog is that you get sent free books all the time, which is absolutely terrific. I received a copy of Aifric Campbell’s THE SEMANTICS OF MURDER last year, when it was first published, but – the demands on everyone’s reading time being what they are – I simply didn’t get around to reading it. Happily, circumstance has forced my hand, as I’m moderating a panel at next week’s Dublin Writers’ Festival, doing my best not to get myself blinded as Aifric Campbell, Ed O’Loughlin and Peter Murphy dazzle their audience.
  Anyway, being the consummate pro that I am (koff), I read THE SEMANTICS OF MURDER this week, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Nice to have a right good novel-of-ideas to mull over, the kind that you’d read in two days if only you weren’t breaking off to stare out the window every five minutes going, ‘Hmmmm, that’s interesting …’. Example thereof:
“The truth was that creative writers were more qualified to explain humanity than psychiatrists and philosophers. This was what Levi the chemist had eventually realised, that he would have to resort to fiction and poetry to communicate the horror of Auschwitz. The psychologists and psychoanalysts who had staked out their territorial claim knew no more than the great novelists …” – Aifric Campbell, THE SEMANTICS OF MURDER
  I’m currently a third of the way through Peter Murphy’s JOHN THE REVELATOR, and enjoying that hugely too. There’s a beautiful narrative voice that puts me in mind of Pat McCabe’s THE BUTCHER BOY, and a whimsical note that suggests a tincture of Flann O’Brien. All of which is most excellent …
  As for Ed O’Loughlin’s NOT UNTRUE & NOT UNKIND, clickety-click here
  That panel, by the way, takes place next Wednesday, June 3rd, at 6pm at the Project Arts Centre. Tickets are €12 / €10. Of which, sadly, I don’t see a red cent. Boo …
  In other Dublin Writers’ Festival News, the impossibly gorgeous Arlene Hunt moderates a panel composed of Val McDermid and Kate Summerscale on Sunday, June 7th, at 5pm at The Abbey, which is quite posh for crime writers, but there you go. Val McDermid is plugging her latest novel, whatever that happens to be, while Kate Summerscale will be talking about THE SUSPICIONS OF MR WHICHER, which I’ve yet to read but I’m hearing great things about … Again, tickets are €12 / €10, which is a bargain for The Abbey. Plus, you get Arlene Hunt, and very possibly Val McDermid on a feminist rant. What more could any red-blooded male want?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh sweet marmalade, I can't beleive it's next week. Where does the time go? Am currently finishing KS's book, cracking read.
Arlene

Anonymous said...

*believe* pre-coffee typing