Friday, August 31, 2007

Hopeful Monster - Nicholas Mosley, underappreciated novelist

Here is a portrait from the journal Prospect of a complex and challenging novelist - one of my favorites - Nicholas Mosely. His Hopeful Monsters makes my top 10 list without a doubt.
Mosley's style sets him well outside the solidly realist mainstream of the English novel. Writers such as Beryl Bainbridge, Alan Hollinghurst and (latterly) Ian McEwan see themselves almost as historians or sociologists, taking pains to get every period detail, every nuance of class and culture, right. The results are deathly in their exactitude. Mosley has no interest in such verisimilitude. "The only reality one can hope to get is of a separate order, the order of storytelling," he wrote as a young man to his friend Hugo Charteris, "and to try to get any other is a mixing-up of two worlds, like the hope that by getting a portrait 'accurate' enough it will suddenly come to life and speak, which it won't."

Hat tip: 3 Quarks Daily (natch)

And here are a series of interviews with Mosely about his writing.


Lee said...

I take anyone who quotes Tranströmer seriously, so I just may have to read Mosley too.

Ted said...

Lee - I've read a lot of Mosely and it can be a challenge, Hopefull Monsters is no exception but what a book!