Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Enigma of Arrival

Sorry not to have blogged since last Thursday - I have had my nose in a book The Enigma of Arrival by V S Naipaul. It is classified as a novel and until page 300 or so this mystified me, because it appears from the start to be a factual memoir of Naipaul's occupation of a country cottage on a rundown estate of a 'big house' in Wiltshire. Then, art reveals itself in small, subtle ways, and the suspicion of fiction creeps in through its musical structure, repetition of motifs etc - in a good way. Composition, pattern, and discreet hints of metaphor make themselves felt, in a way reminiscent of (say) Graham Greene's undoubtably fictional 'autobiography' but certainly the extraordinary W S Sebald's Rings of Saturn. Coincidentally, today marks the birthday of Eric Maria Remarque whose best-selling All Quiet On The Western Front was written as a fictional anti-war novel but marketed by its publisher as the 'true' memoir of a WWI soldier. Here at Moffat Book events we are celebrating the arrival of our new chairman Adam Dillon who will bring a lively new perspective to our activities. Friends can meet him at our forthcoming Open Evening at Brodies at 7pm next Tuesday June 28. More tomorrow - I hope to finish the last forty pages of Enigma on the train south, not for Wimbledon but to a family gathering, to see friends and to attend the AGM of The Georgian Group tomorrow.

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