Monday, 1 March 2010

Sunshine and Smoking Poppy

SUN! LIGHT! I do believe that sping might actually be on the way... the dark is receding, the world is ours again!

And, while I know this might make the blog seem more like a Graham Joyce love in than a place to talk about the shop, right now there's no author out there bringing me more pleasure. Indeed, right now - what with my own writing on the go, and the way my mind is hopping and skipping and swirling and taking long walks down strange dark alleys - he's the only author I've been able to focus on for more than a short story's worth. Most recently, his novel SMOKING POPPY, which was published back in 2001.

I got very little sleep last night. This book kept me reading way past the time I should have been sleeping. And really it's a heartbreaker.

The opening page just welds you to the protagonist, with his description of the incomparable love of a father for his little baby girl, the chemical addiction to the smell of her. The writing is so strong, so direct, it is palpable. I wanted to weep right there... and that is just the start.

Joyce is not a cheap sentimental writer. Any and every emotion in his writing is honest, hard won and real. And because it's real - it's complicated. Few other writers I've read, convey so powerfully (to me at least) the moments in our lives when we are revealed to ourselves. When we transcend ourselves. When we suddenly see ourselves for who we are; when we are confronted by the truth of ourselves and of the people that we love. When the scales are shaken or indeed scoured from our eyes so that we might really see.

Jonathan Carroll is right: "Graham Joyce writes the kind of novels we hope to find, but rarely do."

I know no other author who can shred my heart like he can. No other author who can bring tears so readily to my eyes (of joy as well as fear or pain, or anger).

His clarity of vision, the way he sees people, the way he writes them is so utterly clean and clear, it strikes no false notes.

It really is a joy to read his books. And a travesty that, right now, so many of them are out of print.

As ever, I can't reccomend his work enough. Right now, Joyce feels like MY author. My own (my precious?). But I want him to be your too. You deserve him. You really do...

He's currently working on a new novel, and keeping an almost daily blog about the process. Candid, frank and entertaining, if you've any intrest in writing,you should check it out...