Neil Gaiman says:

Neil Gaiman says:
pic by Allan Amato

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"Hide Your Life Away"


Hello believers, and the morbidly curious :-) No, I ain't dead; at least not from the neck up. Facebook, Scrabulous and Hasbro are in a peeing contest, so now I have nothing left to occupy my small pieces of free time at lunch (at work).

So, I thought: should write on that damned Blog sometime, or it'll get cancelled! Yoiks :-O

So today, I am plugging Carol Little's debut novel "Hide Your Life Away". Actually, you can check out a for 'rizzle quote by yours truly if you hop on over to her writer's blog (at least for the next little while...then it'll get replaced by someone more famous..like say, Lorne Elliott *grin*).

I had the pleasure of reading Carol's work about a month ago and truly enjoyed it. She wrote it at the same time as I was writing "La Tierra del Meurto", during the 3-Day Novel Contest last Labour Day Weekend. The only difference being, her book is actually finished and mine is still languishing in a box in my basement. Oh, and her book is funnier than mine. My book isn't that funny. Although there is an adequate amount of shed blood and crazy characters in both, I think.

I was actually considering signing on for another round of the 3-Day Novel Contest this year. I have the envelope and cheque in my bag. Then I talked to my Mom. (Who is eternally practical--the quintessential Virgo!) Mom said "Why don't you take that weekend and finish the manuscript you started last year?" Perfect sense, no? Well, the envelope is still in the old bag..and you know what? I think I will take that time and do my own 3-Day Novel Contest.. 'cept it'll be more like Finishing Last Year's 3-Day Novel Contest instead :-)

But enough about my old hoss; which I will beat for 3 or 4 days this September. Let's talk about a hoss to bet on! Speaking of horses, that reminds me of Charles Bukowski, the best combination of poet and horse aficionado you can get. For those not familiar with Uncle Buk, here's a wee poem. (Special thanks to T. Anders Carson for initially turning me on to Bukowski btw..)

No. 6

I'll settle for the 6 horse
on a rainy afternoon
a paper cup of coffee
in my hand
a little way to go,
the wind twirling out
small wrens from
the upper grandstand roof,
the jocks coming out
for a middle race
silent
and the easy rain making
everything
at once
almost alike,
the horses at peace with
each other
before the drunken war
and I am under the grandstand
feeling for
cigarettes
settling for coffee,
then the horses walk by
taking their little men
away-
it is funeral and graceful
and glad
like the opening
of flowers.


"Hide Your Life Away" is as gritty as a the bottom of Tom Waits' shoes, with situations that are mildly improbable in the way one knows Star Trek ships have been vacuumed to a 'T' but one never actually sees them being cleaned. Little works the mechanics behind the story with artful ease, not showing her sleeves and not making the machinery creak.

The dialogue (and this book is dialogue heavy) is pert, funny, real, not over-the-brow high-and-mighty, and wry. Someone said of the book that it would make a great play, and with the spare backgrounds and flavourful dialogue, fun, crazy and yes even some achingly normal characters peppering it like cloves in a pot-pourri, I totally believe it would translate well to the stage.

Although the pace is not overly quick-moving, the book itself is. The pages flew under my fingertips as I tasted the greasy food, stale cigarettes and embedded roofing nails firsthand. That's what you get for escaping to the roof of one's shed with a bucket of KFC, a packet of Belmont Milds and a few loose nails to play with I guess.

Little casts her strings open and reels in the nets; she wraps the story neatly, pulling it all together to form a fantastic web that glitters and entices and ultimately delivers a satisfying conclusion.

You can pre-order "Hide Your Life Away" on Amazon.com, you can check out excerpts, see snippets of fun info on Carol's blog or join the Facebook Group "Hide Your Life Away by Carol Little". It is a refreshing work that is especially appealing in a time when news-bits, blogs, two penny articles per click and headlined magazine articles no one reads are the alternative. It stands out and is immediately appealing: the characters are kids in our time, the book is short but punchy and tastes as good as it sounds.

For a bit on Carol's scholarly background, read the fresh article in Carleton University's The Charlatan!

Forthcoming from Meanwhilestudos.com this September 23rd!
Editor: Lisa Cole
Cover photography: Shayli Vere
Cover model: Nathan Wiley
Graphics and layout: Troy Little.
Publisher: Meanwhile Studios; First edition
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0973997117
ISBN-13: 978-0973997118

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yo dude. The Pogues "Bottle of Smoke" is another great song about horses and about relishing that satisfying feeling of beating the odds and...umm...well, drinking to celebrate beating the odds (it is a Pogue song after all). The point is, the song has a pretty strong connection to horses, which is awesome!!

Suzanne Marsden said...

Thanks! I'll have to go and hunt that up :-D
The other Pogues/ horse song is, of course the 'Fairytale of New York'...got on the lucky one...came in 18-to-1... etc.
Cheers!
Suzanne.