"Good writing, for me, usually comes from groping around in the dark." J. Robert Lennon
Posts tagged "Top Tens"
Terrifying tales

Terrifying tales

Children are the lawless adventurers in our midst, semi-detached from adult society. Eventually – in most cases – they’ll be reined in and civilised. Until then these creatures are loose in the world – raw, unformed and vulnerable. All of which makes them an ideal focus for fiction. The books on this list are not...
Turn me into a monster

Turn me into a monster

My novel The Impossible Fortress opens in 1987 with two boys watching music videos on MTV. While researching the book, I watched scores of old ’80s music videos, and I was surprised to learn that some of my favourites had established filmmakers behind the camera. And many more were helmed by relative newcomers who grew...
Too close for comfort

Too close for comfort

In cities, crime rates rise with the temperature but I’ve often wondered how many murders happen because of summer holidays. After all, British murder rates spike at Christmas – all those long, workless, alcohol-soaked days closeted away from the real world with the people who know us best: our family. What surer crucible for psychological...
Aces of the West

Aces of the West

Here is a list of some of my favourite novels that take place in the American West. This includes both historical Westerns and contemporary stories set in the rugged and wild areas that we consider the West. There are so many good ones, but I chose these due to the heavy use of location and...
Tips for living

Tips for living

Britt-Marie is not judgemental, or fussy, or difficult. No matter how ill-mannered, thoughtless, impertinent or unkempt others may be. But she does expect things to be done in a certain way. She has lived a perfectly orderly life with her husband Kent in their rented apartment in Stockholm for the last forty years. But when...
Fiction of the American underclasses

Fiction of the American underclasses

During Presidential election campaigns, the men and women who aspire to the White House pitch themselves as the Wizard of Oz (or are they Dorothy?) – who will lead all Americans to the Emerald City about which they dream – and the myth of America’s cultural identity as a land of opportunity and dreams shines...
As Evel does

As Evel does

Americans love a confident scoundrel. We are willing – some large number of us are, anyway – to forgive myriad flaws, lies and crimes, so long as the offender is charismatic and self-assured. Perhaps this is true of people everywhere, but there is a particular strain of American rogue that populates the nation’s history to...
American road epics

American road epics

American stories are road stories. We are aware that others do road stories. We are aware that others did them before us. We read Dante, some of Cervantes, and we saw Mad Max twelve times. But no other people set such stock by their road narratives. Nobody churns out so many, or believes them so...
Transformers

Transformers

Years ago, when I was starting out as a writer, I met a literary agent. “What do you want to see happen to characters in a story?” I asked him. His reply was simple: “I want to see them changed.” In many ways, identity change is a central part of most stories. Through the experiences...
High life and dirty boulevards

High life and dirty boulevards

The films in this list may range widely in style and subject, from brooding dramas to spectacular action movies, from French New Wave masterpieces to slightly dated 80s thrillers; some are French productions while others are American movies filmed in Paris, but one thing is true of all of them: they couldn’t have been set...