Clare Dudman has written an interesting review of ‘The Mistress of Nothing’ and published this alongside an interview with me on her blog, ‘The Keeper of The Snails’. Thanks to Clare for this. The interview includes a few questions that diverge from the topic of the novel, including my thoughts on snails! Clare has been writing this blog for a considerable time now and has built up a really interesting archive of interviews with writers. She’s also a novelist and has written what sound like a fascinating novel based on the life of a arctic explorer and scientist, Wegener’s Jigsaw. One to add to my summer reading list.
There’s a new interview with me up on Rob Chilver’s Adventures in Words blog. Thanks to Rob for his interest in the book. Rob’s a bookseller and fiction writer as well as a blogger.
Nice review in Metro newspaper today, by Tina Jackson -
“Fans of Kate Pullinger’s unsettling takes on the shadowy aspects of contemporary female life need not worry that she’s lost her perceptive edge in her first foray into historical fiction.
Based on a true story, this is a reconstruction of the mistress-servant relationship between famed Victorian traveller Lucie Duff Gordon and her maid.
Their life in Egypt turns from orientalist idyll, involving hitherto unexperienced freedoms for both the women, into a bitter, brutal assertion of who is in charge.
Narrated with straightforward intimacy by the prosaically named Sally Naldrett, it describes both women’s relationship with the servant on whom they depend for their survival, Omar Abu Halaweh.
Pullinger is equally unerring at conveying the subtle cruelties of power relationships and the incremental dawnings of love and affection.
Coupled with this is an almost painterly ability to depict an Egypt alternately parched and sumptuous ?? both literally and metaphorically.”
21 July 2009 in | Comments (0)
Writing Neuroses has published a review of the novel, accompanied by an interview with me. Thanks to Kay Sexton for that - it’s an interesting piece (though I would say that wouldn’t I).
The virtual book tour (or VBT, as the Observer called it on Sunday) seems to be going well… it’s hard to assess, at this stage, whether it will have any impact on sales, though my sales ranking on Amazon has moved from a lowly 12,000+ to a less lowly 6,000+... so that must be a good thing.
Had my launch party last week and that went well, though I suffered from the usual party stress - who will come? will they all hate each other and have a big brawl in the street? will someone from my past who hates me come along and stand on a chair and shout abuse at me? will it rain?
Amazingly, none of the above happened. My daughter was a super-efficient salesperson and sold 25 copies of the book. We drank Pimms. Two of my students came and the woman I like to refer to as ‘my oldest friend in London’ was there as well. All in all, it was not traumatic. Plus my publisher took me out for supper afterward, which is always a good thing.
Jessica Pressman, Assistant Professor at Yale, an academic who is deeply involved with debates and critiques around electronic literature and digital fiction, has published an essay in the online arts and literature journal Drunken Boat called ‘Charting the Shifting Seas of Electronic Literature’s Past and Present’ In this essay she discusses ‘Flight Paths’ as a work of ‘networked collaboration in networked media’. She includes a number of other works as examples; it’s wonderful to have our work highlighted in this way.
To date there’s been three reviews of my new novel that I’m aware of - ‘Good Housekeeping’ - ‘scorchingly powerful’ - and ‘Sainsbury’s Magazine’. I can’t link to these as neither have appeared online, at least as far as I know, but it is great to be reviewed in these two glossies, as they are bought by a demographic of women who also buy books.
Rob Chilvers Adventures With Words, a blog written by a bookseller, reviewed the novel today.
Of course, this is the first time I’ve published a book since the advent of Twitter. So with Rob Chilver’s review, I knew about it because he wrote a tweet about the review - so that came up on my TweetDeck as a ‘mention’, despite the fact that I wasn’t following him on Twitter (which of course I am now doing!).
It’s also the first time I’ve published a book since I’ve been using Google Alerts - so now every time anyone in the world writes anything online that contains the words ‘Kate Pullinger’, or ‘The Mistress of Nothing’, I know about it.
Good or bad or simply fanning the flames of paranoia? Stay tuned.
The official publication date of ‘The Mistress of Nothing’ is this Thursday. This time round, my ninth book, I’m much more nervous than ever before. The market for books seems so much narrower now - it’s actually tough for publishers to get copies of books into the bookshops, let alone get anyone to buy them. It used to be that returns were a big problem for publishers (when books come back unsold from shops and distributors); now the very idea of returns seems like a luxury, when the books don’t get into the shops in the first place.
I’ve got a ton of work to do but instead I am incapacitated by dread and fear and loathing and anxiety. Not about the book; oddly enough I feel fairly confident about the book itself - it is what it is, I worked very hard on it for a very long time, and people who have managed to get their hands on a copy are responding well. Today I had a phone call from Hanan Al Shayhk, the Lebanese writer (who has lived in Egypt also); she rang to say she loved the book and that she thought I had captured the texture of life for the Egyptian family in Cairo very well. Coming from her, this is a great great thing for me. So people are liking it. We sold the German rights, the Canadian edition is going to press on Friday… bit by bit, things are happening. Writers are always comparing themselves with each other - for instance, my friend Geoff Dyer is certainly Book Man of the Summer, he even has his own little talking head slot on More 4 currently! - but it isn’t about that either. It’s more a kind of nameless, wordless, churning dread that ...
Enough. I really had better try to do some work.
Curators Jeremy Hight and S.C. Nakatani of online exhibition space, Binary Katwalk, invited me to participate in ‘Line of Influence’, a new series of shows where artists show their own work alongside the work of artist’s they’ve been influenced by, and, in turn, artists they might have influenced.
I chose to highlight work by Caitlin Fisher, Renee Turner, and Christine Wilks. The show is up now, and looking great.
‘Line of Influence’ features the five new mini-stories that Chris and I have created for ‘Flight Paths’. If you are interested in ‘Flight Paths’, please spread the word about the new stories, and please contribute to the project.
8 July 2009 in | Comments (0)
There’s a good review of the ‘Punk Fiction’ anthology by Sara Crowley on The Short Review - nice mention of my story, ‘Public Image Ltd’. This story features my character, Richard - I’ve been developing this character across a number of linked short stories recently. He’s a rather eccentric, a little bit lost, middle-aged man…