Not much has happened this week. After the excitement of the last few weeks, and the ups and downs of the situation with Ghostwriter and the subsequent excellent Ash Tree Press developments, I’ve been glad of the rest to be honest.
The Ghostwriter situation, incidentally, is in a holding pattern. Neil still hasn’t sent me the stuff he has agreed he owes but the date I gave him by which I expect the items to arrive hasn’t come yet, so I don’t suppose the items will arrive until then. September the 11th is their due date, so we’ll see what happens.
The Ash Tree Development (can you hear me smile? can you? can you? I am, you know! right across my face) is still great, but hasn’t moved on any further (not that I’d have expected it to). We’re into the period of finetoothcombing and proofreading, so it’ll be awhile before I have anything worth reporting, I expect. Soon as I know, you’ll know. Well, maybe a bit after I know, but you get my drift.
I wrote another story this week, but feedback on it has been mixed so I need to make some changes to it – in particular, I have to stop one of my characters talking like “someone out of an Ayn Rand novel”. Hmmmm. Tough gig… I have a couple of long train journeys over the next week (plus some time in hotel rooms) so my hope is to beat it into shape, as well as trying to complete another couple of stories on the Work In Progress list. We’ll see how it goes, given that I also have proper work to do which sadly has to take some precedent. Apparently, if people pay me, they expect me to do a good job! Weird, huh?
Review: So, anyway, I finished The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, which I can’t recommend highly enough. It’s brilliant, both witty and thrilling, and it’s also unashamedly Jewish. That sounds like a strange thing to put in a review, but it matters – Jewishness is central to the storyline, and fills every sentence. Chabon never once expects anything less of his readers than full attention and understanding, and never ‘dumbs down’, instead expecting his readers to work with him to understand and accept the details of the cultures and religions he describes. There are jokes in the Yiddish, but also a clear sense of another culture, one that’s vibrant, flawed and complex. At its heart, the book is a noir-style police procedural, and it’s important to say that, whatever else it is, this novel has a decent mystery at its centre. Who killed the junkie in the hotel room? Where will all those dispossessed Jews live? Why the obsession with chess? Read and find out! A definite must-read.
Okay, that’s your lot. I’m tired and I have a week’s work away from home to sort out. Later, lords and ladies.