Sunday, October 07, 2007

Macmillan New Writing focus

The Herring Seller's Apprentice
L.C. Tyler

I don't intend to make a habit of writing about MNW titles, a practice both suspect and incestuous. That disclaimer aside, I picked up the latest offering at the weekend, and it's worth drawing to your attention. For the record, I've never met or corresponded with L.C. Tyler, even though he lives less than twenty miles from me. My opinion is as objective as these things can be.

David Isaak and I have both touched on the inadvisability of writing fiction about writers on our blogs: Tyler shows triumphantly that it can be done. The protagonist of this crime novel is... a crime novelist. Tyler deconstructs all the tropes of the English crime novel in a story which is witty, self-referential, meticulously plotted and unexpectedly poignant. If that makes it sound rather high-falutin', it isn't. It's great fun, a judgement which does not contain even a hint of denigration. The breezy narrative voice could easily conceal the fact that
The Herring Seller's Apprentice is a very accomplished piece of work. In addition, Tyler has a cutting way with one liners, and I suspect his work will bear re-reading. I'll certainly be looking out for whatever he turns his attention to next.

The Herring Seller's Apprentice is highly recommended.

1 comment:

David Isaak said...

I'm not surprised it's good--Grumpy Old Bookman, who tends to be a bit, well, grumpy, picked Herring Seller's as the most exciting of the forthcoming MNW books from the first-chapter sampler published earlier this year.