Friday, 5 June 2009

False starts

I started a thriller two days ago. It's Assassination Day by Oliver Jacks. It was published in 1976 and is a bit dated so I've hardly made any progress. So I picked up Sherston's Progress by Siegfried Sassoon. This is the third volume of a fictionalised memoir by the poet about his life before and during the First World War. This volume is about his time in Craiglockhart Hospital. Pat Barker's Regenaration partly covers the same subject (featuring the poet and soldier Wilfred Owen) so unfortunately the whole thing seemed too similar to that work and I got fed up reading it. After that confession I must try again, particularly as Sassoon's book came first (Regeneration wasn't written until the 1990s)!

So I have no completed books to report at all. Now I'm in the middle of The Hothouse by the East River by Muriel Spark, and after an unpromising start this has really drawn me in. What is reality here and what is fantasy? Who is insane and who isn't? Is the character from the past really who he seems?