Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Crusaders finds more readers at The Rotters Club

I note an interesting online write-up from a book club who (cf. Jonathan Coe) rejoice in the name of 'The Rotters Club': lately it seems the group have been mulling over both Crusaders and Engleby by Sebastian Faulks, in tandem. That's a whole lotta pages - must have been their 'state-of-the-nation' month. I gather that the readers much preferred Faulks; they thought Crusaders was 'wide in scope and ambition, but loose in having too many characters: its central one, The Reverend Gore, not having enough magnetism.' Still, I'm interested in the judicious closing remarks:
'We all agreed that it was refreshing to read a novel set elsewhere than London and would work well as a TV mini series.'
(Well, they might yet speak truer than they know.)
'It would be interesting to read the novelist's second novel to evaluate any development.'
(Said novel is still at least 18 months away from stores. But it'll mark a change of tack, for sure.)
'Harry Airborne', presumably the group's chief blogger/spokesperson, is frank and rather gracious: 'I probably would not have got past the first 100 pages of Crusaders -it reminded me of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth with its proliferation of characters and unwieldiness - but another member urged me to persevere and I am pleased I did. More JF, who advocated it, had a mastery of the text and clarified the motive of Steve Coulson’s support for the church, whilst another countered my view that the denouement was not too coincidental.'
Obviously I wouldn't have wanted to earwig every last bit of this debate, some of it would probably have stung a bit, but clearly I'd have been pleased to hear those staunch defenders of mine near the end. As I've said before, readers' groups are a great thing in our society, and I'm really pleased to have found my way onto another reading list of this kind.


Michaelloftus said...

Hope its OK to use this facility to say firstly thst I did enjoy Crusaders but also as a long exiled north west durham lad to express my giddy delight at the sadly brief cameo of Malcolm Fairbrother the Lib Dem MP for Leadgate. He made his strobe-lit-like appearnce as I was reading the novel on a flight to Berlin and it was all I could do to prevent myself going up and down the aisle extolling the surreal genius of awarding poor benighted Leadgate ( I carry the effortless superiority of a Stanley man meself) a Lib Dem MP.
Many thanks

Richard T Kelly said...

Aw Michael, you're very welcome, mate, and I'm pleased that you got such a laugh from this throwaway but (as you say) highly cavalier homage to Leadgate: a place that hasn't much troubled the history books or the parliamentary boundaries, but which was dear enough to my late maternal grandma. (Per the book's interest in evocative Durham place-names, 'Leadgate' also has a formidable foursquare thud to it.)