Monday, 23 November 2009
Something beginning with (Salway)
As part of my rather successful attempt to buy less books, I have been making a heroic onslaught on my TBR bookcase - I have removed a couple of titles which I really don't think I will read, and I am trying to get through some of the backlog. My goal is to go into 2010 with only two shelves of TBR books - one for Virago Modern Classics, and one for everything else. I think this will be possible, certainly once I have packed some books for my skiing holiday! The trouble with the TBR is often I can't remember quite why I bought a certain book.
It wasn't until I looked properly at Something beginning with by Sarah Salway that I realised the only reason I had picked it up in the charity shop was because the principal character had the same name as me, Verity. Verity is an unusual name, and I've not met very many others in my life. I've not seen many in fiction either, with the exception of Verity-Ann in the Chalet School series.
However, although that might seem to have been a somewhat strange reason for buying the book, it turned out to be a little gem. The story itself could easily be dismissed as "chick-lit" - it is predominantly about the lovelife and affairs of Verity and her best friend, but the way it was told built up a beautiful picture of a slightly naieve girl, struggling to work out her place in the world. Something beginning with has a very unusual fragmentary structure where the story is told through an A-Z glossary; so as Verity shares her thoughts on "ambition", "baked beans", "friends", we learn more about her and her friends. This could have been a very annoying device, but Salway used it to good effect and I found myself intrigued by the words that she was choosing and interested to see how the story would develop in this way.
I am going to seek out some more of Salway's work (from the library!), and remain on the hunt for books with Verity's in them.