“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.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

An Orthodox Approach

There’s a nice interview with William Ryan over at the Pan Macmillan interweb portal, in which William expands on the whys and wherefores of plot, character, setting, etc., in his debut THE HOLY THIEF. The historical setting is particularly interesting, being Moscow in the mid-1930s, when Comrade Stalin was just starting to flex his genocidal muscles. To wit:
Q: Why did you choose to write your book set in the midst of Stalin’s ‘great terror’?

A: “I think it’s a fascinating period of history. The gradual shift away from the early ideals and hopes of the Revolution to the absolute oppression of the thirties was a tragedy for many Soviet citizens, and one that was repeated around the world from Albania to Cambodia. I find it amazing that the Orthodox religion, despite its savage persecution, has emerged possibly stronger than ever in Russia, so Korolev, the main character in the novel, was intended to reflect that undercurrent of religious belief that always existed even at the height of the Terror. He’s an ordinary person living in an extraordinary time, trying to make sense of the world he finds himself in and doing his best to survive without compromising any more than he has to.”
  For the rest, clickety-click here
  Incidentally, Barry Forshaw likes it ...
“Ryan demonstrates considerable skill in evoking this benighted period, along with a deftness at ringing the changes on familiar crime plotting moves. The auguries for a series, of which The Holy Thief is the first book, are very promising indeed.” - Barry Forshaw, Daily Express
  Meanwhile, I’m curious. The plot of THE HOLY THIEF revolves around a missing religious icon of the Orthodox Church, the quasi-mythical Kazanskaya, and it’s not often you come across a crime fiction protagonist exercised by a strong religious faith, as Korolev is. Anyone have any other suggestions?

1 comment:

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Interesting interview. It's always good to hear an author's view on th writing / pub procees. I found this comment by him particularly inspiring.

"The copy-editing and proof-reading process for a novel can be a bit of a trial – after the tenth rereading, you sort of lose sight of what you liked about it in the first place."

There will be no greater gift in this World for you than Miss Lilyput, enjoy and cherish every second you have with her. If every man had a daughter, the world would be a better place.