This evening I was in illustrious company. I was lucky enough to be at Waterstones Covent Garden, who played host to Ned Beauman and Jake Arnott. Both authors treated us to a reading from their latest novels, answered questions and signed books.
Ned (I’m going with first names now!) read from his Booker long-listed second novel, The Teleportation Accident. He fortuitously chose one of my favourite stories within stories that add to the book’s gloriousness: Scramsfield and the suicide pact. It’s so thick with morbid humour, and shows just the type of man Scramsfield is. Not the type to emulate, of that I am sure. He is just one of the disreputable and deluded characters in the crazy world Ned has created.
Jake read from The Magician section of his genre-defying House of Rumour. This part of the book is set in the early 1940s and features naval intelligence officer Ian Fleming. Each part takes its name from the tarot pack, which gives an overarching description of the plot contained within it. The Magician is the person whose help Fleming needs to get Operation Mistletoe up and running. The reading was so good with Jake giving a virtuoso performance complete with voices for characters.
Hearing them read and talk about their books made me want to read them again already, and reminded me what I love about them both. They are both outstanding reads, with amazing energy that starts, bang, from the very first page. I was scooped up by the stories and carried away entirely. The mix of genres, inclusion of pulp fiction, historical setting, blurring of fact and fiction are all things I love about the novels and were discussed in the Q&A session. It was rather marvellous to watch the two writers bounce off one another’s answers, and to see the coincidences between the two books emerge.
I posted reviews for the pair on Waterstones.com, under my alter-ego Jane Sharp. Just click on the link below and select the Bookseller review tab if you would like to read what I wrote.
The Teleportation Accident: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/ned+beauman/the+teleportation+accident/8777015/
House of Rumour: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/jake+arnott/the+house+of+rumour/8735047/
It was great to meet the authors and hear them talk about their work, a real privilege. Thank you to Jake and Ned, and to the Covent Garden gang for putting on a splendid event!