Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pincher Martin - post I

There are certain styles of writing that really challenge the reader to concentrate. This book starts with a man drowning but the metaphor of a glass diver bobbing away in a jar throws you a bit.

But bit by bit the fact this man swimming in the Atlantic has ended up there because his boat was hit by a U-boat starts to help you out it all together. But to get there involves reading through swirling and slightly surreal passages that are as unclear as the drowning man’s future.

He finally manages to pull himself out of the water onto a rock after a moment when you expected him to be saved by a ship which almost kills him. Once on the rock he changes again from a drowning swirling glass diver in a jar to a limpet on a rock.

In an opening devoid of any characters other than the survivor and the names of his dead crew men the drowning man’s legs and arms become characters of their own as they drift, swim and cling out of the sea onto the rocks.

More tomorrow…

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