I can't believe it's already the end of June and time for the Artful Reading Club hosted by the highly creative. Darcy. Please click here for more details of this opportunity to catch up on books that you had lying about and always intended to get down off the shelf, and then to create and share art inspired by them and see what other readers and artists have been discovering on their book-shelves. I had planned to read Flan O'Brien's 'At Swim Two Birds' for years and I was expecting to be impressed. Well, it's certainly a clever book, sometimes a funny one, though I'm sure I don't get half the jokes, but it's a book that makes me feel 'locked out'. Some books just draw you in: it might be from page one: you find yourself believing in the characters and caring passionately about what happens to them. Then there are books where you feel that someone somewhere, possibly many someones are loving this and participating in a party to which you are not invited: you gaze on from the sidelines or from the street outside and you feel very lonely indeed. For me this is 'At Swim Two Birds'. It's beautifully written and it plays cleverly with the idea of the writer as puppet-master, but I found myself longing for characters that I could believe in and empathize with and - although I could admire the writer's wit, skill and imagination - not to mention his erudition - I had to really force myself to read to the end. So many people love this novel I am beginning to wonder if it's something lacking in me that I just couldn't feel totally absorbed by it. I can see its merits, but 'At Swim Two Birds' is not a novel I would wholeheartedly recommend. I wondered desperately how I was going to create anything inspired by a novel that made me feel inadequate. Then I thought about the role of the writer as puppet master and this little piece grew out of that thought.
I thoroughly enjoyed creating my puppet-master's hand, though. I can display this and remember the thoughts I had as I created it about stories, character and story-tellers. This - and the novel, I suppose - did make me think about what I go to novels for and how much power the writer/creator has over his creation. Ultimately, though, it is the reader's recognition of the world he or she creates that matters. Thank you for stopping by listening to my ramblings and looking at my art. I am now off to explore other reviews and art work, always such a pleasure!