Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Relief. Proofs.


I have read some really excellent New Zealand fiction this year, including work by Mary McCallum, Sarah Laing and Emily Perkins, and I have just added to the list with Anna Taylor's short story collection Relief. At her best, Taylor's writing throws up the atmosphere of Kirsty Gunn's stories and the inventiveness with language of Anne Enright's. An example: "... he looks tired, his head small and pale like a peeled egg." That image stayed with me a long time after I'd finished the story.

I read the book from start to finish, and while some of the stories didn't work quite as well for me (mostly due to a slight heavy-handedness in aforementioned atmosphere and inventiveness) on the whole, I thought it was a remarkable achievement. The stories remind me of the kind of stories I used to try (and fail) to write before giving up and concentrating on novels; in other words, I wish I had written them.

In other news, the proofs for Magpie Hall have arrived. You often hear writers talking about how exciting getting the proofs is, because that is when your new baby is all laid out like a real book. I am making way through them slowly (too slowly probably) and so far haven't come across any howling mistakes.

I have a real, human, new baby to look after, and having something like this to look over is really nice; it keeps me from falling head-first into total domesticity.

9 comments:

Ruth said...

Oh how great! Both re: the baby and the proofs. You must be so happy/proud of both. :)

Is the cover as beautiful in real life as it is in the picture in your previous post?

Rachael King said...

The cover hasn't been printed yet so I have only seen it on the screen!

Ruth said...

Oh! My bad... I was mixing up proofs with ARCs. :)

Rachel Fenton said...

Congratulations!

How do you mark the proofs if there's an error - do you have a school type red pen or a sharp HB? Or do you scribble mistakes into oblivion like my daughter does before smudging a hole in the paper with a damp fingertip!?

Rachael King said...

Just an old-fashioned red pen.

a cat of impossible colour said...

Huge congratulations on the printed baby and the real one! :)

Marianne said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed 'Relief'.

You are amazing - proofs and a new baby all at once. I would love to be nearer so I could pop over and baby watch for a bit. But I'm sure you have everything well in hand.

Congratulations!

Rachael King said...

Yes, I did, Marianne. Thanks so much for giving it to me!

Maggie May said...

egghead