Thunderous applause … or just thunder? Summer Readaround – 19 June 2019

Wednesday saw the third Read-around of the summer, hosted by Carolyn O’Hara. We were reminded of Carolyn’s Read-around last year when we sat out in the garden in lovely sunshine. No such luck today with occasional showers and even thunder. However, inside were twelve keen writers prepared to share their work. After randomly drawing letters from a bag, it turned out to be our two new presidents who were to start us off.

            Chris gave us an atmospheric piece of memoir. The opening line of Chris, you’d better sit down, gave us the clue to awful news to come, though the piece doesn’t actually say what it is. With engaging details, an impression is given of an idyllic holiday in rural France. But this is overlaid with that sense of foreboding delivered in the first line. Cleverly done.

            Graeme gave us an extract from his latest novel featuring his detective hero Jamie Raeburn. Now in the 1980s, we see him frustrated and desk-bound because of his higher rank. However, there is the promise of something significant when he is specially requested for an investigation in to the suspicious death of a prominent figure. Do we detect the beginnings of a love interest here too Graeme?

            Jeanette began by apologising for her novice status. (But we’ll have none of that Jeanette – you are a writer. We are all still learning all the time.) She then gave us an excellent and funny piece about her troubles with a terrible decorator. Great stuff!

            We had a different approach to a crime novel from Ann, who concentrates on the effects of a murder on members of a community. In this extract a vicar finds himself embroiled in the suspicion surrounding the murder. The arrival of a new deaconess may or may not help the situation.

            Suzy’s flash fiction A Fine Time to Slip Away created a very tense and emotional atmosphere. A mother, separated from her daughter due to many years of mental ill-health, accidentally meets her again. Her distress at being unrecognised is palpable.

            Kirsty gave us an extract from her Young Adult novel in which the young protagonist ‘Neptune’ is painfully ‘branded’ by her mysterious pocket watch and then finds a portal into another dimension. Very gripping stuff Kirsty.

            My contribution was one of a collection of stories for children. They are based on the stories my grandmother told me about her early life in the 1870s and 1880s. I’m doing it for the benefit of my grandchild, so he will know something about his great-great grandmother.

            Eddie began an intriguing story about a girl who sees and talks to an intrusive character from inside her own head. The cause is apparently a benign tumour in her brain which is too small to be operated on. An ingenious idea Eddie, but we felt there should be more clarity in events leading to the discovery of the cause. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

            Matthew gave us a hilarious piece through the persona of a gabby hairdresser, whose pithy descriptions of her clients caused much laughter. Now is the winter of our discontent etc, and its misinterpretation are explained to our hairdressing friend by an erudite waiter!

            Gail drew on the performance skills of some of the group to portray her characters in a very funny screenplay in which an ailing woman, her soon to be ex husband and her best friend, engage in excellent and pithy exchanges. I loved the bit about boiling the cabbage whole!

            Linda’s beautifully descriptive memoir, set in the Austrian Alps, contrasted the pleasure of glorious scenery with the shock of an encounter with nazi sympathisers 40 years after WW2.

            Carolyn rounded off the evening with a small but heart-felt rant about ‘the B word’ and its implications. Well, it had to happen didn’t it? You can’t expect to get through an evening these days without the mention of b….y Brexit.

            Many thanks Carolyn for your hospitality. I’m looking forward to the next read-around on 3 July chez Palmer.

Maggie Bolton

One comment

  1. Sounds like a great night all round. Though I’m a bit concerned, Chris, as I write this in idyllic rural France. Cheers, Greta

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