Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “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.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Thrills, Tills And Bellyaches

Some of the more lascivious elves here at Crime Always Pays have been lusting after the delectable Claire Kilroy (right) for some time now, although most of the elves tend to celebrate the more cerebral elements of her novels, ALL SUMMER and TENDERWIRE, both of which, if the reviews are anything to go by, are rather thrilling. But does the delectable Ms Kilroy consider herself a writer of thrillers? One particularly eagle-eyed elf (she was genetically engineered in a lab) spotted this exchange from an interview conducted by Declan Meade, editor of the Stinging Fly magazine, and published in the Winter 2006/07 issue, to wit:
Declan Meade: There’s an element of the thriller in both of the books, in how the story is told.
Claire Kilroy: “Certainly when all the reviews came out for TENDERWIRE, they were all saying it was a literary thriller, which I’m not sure about. You’re always a bit cautious to end up in a genre, and I’m not sure exactly what that genre is. The last review I got was in the TLS, and it said the publishers are pushing this as a whodunnit and it’s not. It’s one of those things: you want people to read your book, so if the publishers say calling it a whodunnit means that more people might buy it, even by accident, that’s fine – it’s better than people not buying it at all.”
Hurrah! Stupid thriller lovers send the tills ker-ching buying literary fiction by accident, and everyone’s a winner, especially the delectable Ms Kilroy! Glad that’s settled. Oops, no it’s not …
DM: We’ve spoken about plot and pace but your novels also have some beautiful descriptions and phrases that arrest the reader’s attention. How important is that aspect of the writing to you?
CK: “It means far more than pace. See, to me, the thriller is an inferior form. I’ve never read a thriller – so I shouldn’t say it’s an inferior form (laughs) – but I’m not interested. The one quasi-thriller I did read was MISS SMILLA’S FEELING FOR SNOW, and it started off great, but then it became just a thriller, so what’s the point? Language is the all, and trying to express specific experiences, emotional experiences, through imagery and metaphor, that is what it’s about.”
Erm, yes, possibly - if you’re a poet. The delectable Ms Kilroy appears to have forgotten that language is not in fact ‘all’, but is simply one of the tools available to a novelist telling a story. But lo! The delectable Ms Kilroy hasn’t forgotten that, because her novels are constructed in – shock! – linear narratives in which characters engage in – quelle horror! – criminal acts in order to further the – ooh, the humanity! – story! So is the delectable Ms Kilroy really the self-consciously literary snob she professes herself to be? Or doth the lady protest too much in order to perpetrate a hilarious post-modern double-bluff? YOU decide!


Anonymous said...

It's one of the worst things a writer/publisher can do - have contempt for those poor sods who are actually buying their product. Look what happened to John Ryan...

CAP Genetically Engineered Elf

Pageturners said...

It's a thriller. She's obviously just invented a new genre without realising it! Even the characters are thrilloid: the enormous eastern European thug, the geeky violinist.