Unless we get a phone call to say that Marion's mum is being discharged from hospital (she's making very good progress) we're off to Liverpool today for one of our regular double bill sessions. When I was a kid there were always two films in every screening but that's a thing of the past now and we have to plan our viewing around screening times (note to cinema managers - think about resurrecting double billing). The first, at 1.30 is Martha Marcy May Marlene which has been getting very positive reviews and, later, after we've had time for a cup of tea and slice of cake in our favourite FACT, it's Jodie Foster's latest - Carnage. I've read mixed reviews of this one but the trailer looked interesting even though it looks pretty obvious that it's an adaptation of a stage play.
I've read a couple more books on the Kindle this week. I've just finished The Qualities Of Wood by Mary Vensel White. I was keen to read this as it's the first e-book published under the new authonomy label. Authonomy is a website run by Harper Collins for aspiring writers. It offers unpublished authors like me the opportunity to put chapters of their books out in the public domain for others to read and comment upon. There's a chance that their writing will be noticed and that could lead to the first step on the road to a literary career. Competition is stiff as there's some very high quality writing amongst the several thousand books uploaded or partially uploaded. I'm going to put my book on there in a couple of months when I might have more time to be active on the site. You can check authonomy out HERE
Anyway, back to Mary Vensel White's book. I deliberately read this blind without reading any of the blurb so I didn't know if I was going to be reading romance, a thriller, a whodunnit or horror and, as the pages turned, there were elements of each. The author creates a very atmospheric setting in the woods behind the empty old house that a young couple, Vivian and Nowell, have come to tidy up. Occasional flickers of light play amongst the leaves at night - a teenage girl's body has been found - it was just an accident - or was it? Was the mysterious Abe Stokes, who lives in a house in the woods, involved?
The book explores the couple's relationship with each other and with Nowell's angry younger brother Lonnie. Although I felt that a few things seemed superfluous (for example Vivian's interest in and thoughts on art sometimes interrupt the flow of the narrative), this is a very strong debut. A compelling back story tantalisingly woven into the novel in small snippets leaves the reader guessing right through to the end. We can feel the atmosphere as the heat of the summer builds up and family tensions fray.We smell the musty old well in the back yard and we fear what's outside in the dark of the woods. At 99p this is amazing value and I'm sure that we'll see more of Mary Vensel White in the future.