Monday, April 23, 2007

Arlington Park

written by Rachel Cusk

"Set over the course of a single rainy day, the novel moves from one household to another, and through the passing hors conducts a deep examination of its characters' lives."

Previously, if I'd read this on the inside jacket of a book I would've put it back on the shelf and thought that not much could happen and why bother. Thanks to taking a chance on, and loving "One day in the Life.." and the fact that I wanted to read a new release next, "Arlington Park" fit the bill.

Set in London and following the intertwined lives of women living on Arlington Park seems like a good backdrop for a novel and at times it is. Many of the chapters are insightful, encouraging - in a backwards way (let's just say it made me appreciate the love of my good man and semi-quiet life we lead), and all are more than words on a page.

But, and here comes a little critique, sometimes I couldn't handle the fascinating, page after page of descriptions of rain...seriously. It's true. rain. I mean, I like rain, love it sometimes but 248 pages of one day, while it's raining? It was a little much.

I find myself searching for a focus in my novel. I wonder if reading the latest novel is helpful anymore. I need these influences in some way, because,
- if you already know what I'm writing you can skip this part -

The main character in my novel is a twenty-something woman, working in the highly popular culture of fashion and glamor. Her life is seemingly the epitome of so many a young girls list of life goals. She is married to a high-power man, with luxury and all the good. She is unsatisfied though, and finds a better man to fulfill her where her husband has not.

...because, for my main character to come to a moral climax she has to be someone that would "fit" in the world that these "chick-lit" novels portray. When I find my novel taking a more real life turn, I pick up another chick-lit book and re-focus my character back into the world she needs to live in.

So...I need these books. But I am writing (my book) because I despise these books. The characters never suffer consequences for their evil deeds. That is what I am writing against. And that is what I am hoping to expose with my own book and perhaps change the way we view what chick lit is supposed to be. To stay focused on my end result (and my ending that includes consequences), I can not read these chick lit books, they are a distraction and they, basically, make my writing suck. But to write a compelling "beginning" to my story, I MUST read and read with a mind to devour and soak in their meaning and feeling and sense of being that a chick lit offers.

I am stuck. My mind seems to full of everything. So, I'm reading C.S.Lewis' "The Discarded Image"


elixir said...

Yay! I have been waiting to hear from you again. Thanks for confirming my desire to avoid chick-lit, and most modern writing.

I do have to say that I really enjoyed "Middlesex" by jeffery eugenides (sp?). It is a modern classic of sorts...a very american tale (ironically told by a hermaphrodite).

Anyhow, I also really enjoyed the peek inside your writing project and will look forward to reading it someday.

Umm...could you try to read a little faster so that I can hear from that mind of yours more often? And I know I owe you an is coming, it just might be after I move and get unpacked in the new place (we move Friday!).

Anonymous said...

Once again, you have shown your depth and thought process is superlative. I have a friend that is trying to be a writer. She took classes put on by famous authors, they all said - "don't read while you are writing, you will pick up to much of someone elses's ideas and they sub-consciously end up in your books?... don't know if that is true but I thought of it and thought I had best pass it on.
So have fun with my son, my daughter! xo