The people in Scotland St are more robust, even though one of the main male characters is narcissistic – at least he’s energetically so, and provides some of the high comedy moments in the first novel in the series.
It would be interesting to write a novel in this way, revealing a section a day, no going back, no ability to repair mistakes, no way of getting a character out of a difficult spot by rewriting (Smith’s usual method is just to forget the character!). And the pressure of having to keep up. If I thought a weekly column was an achievement, what about a daily chapter!
seemed almost as if the surfies had taken over (the aging surfies, for the most part – surfing is obviously a sport a man can carry on in through his mature years). There was little about
But the other thing that was disappointing was that there was no preaching, even speaking, from the minister. Yes, he prayed, effectively and sincerely, and we sang a hymn, and Lindsay’s stepson or godson, (I’m not quite sure who he was) sang a very definite praise song, but what a lost opportunity for the minister to speak. I can only wonder if he was cautioned off it – by the surfing community, perhaps (‘they won’t want any preaching; they’re just ordinary blokes, you know?’). Of course I’m bound to be wrong in that. Whoever made the decision, however, it was the wrong one. People’s hearts are seldom more open to listening to words about eternity than when they’re in the middle of a funeral – even I am, and I’ve been listening to eternal words for decades, and hearing them too. It’s a time when the bubble of life is easily burst, and we know – we really, really know – that our time on this earth isn’t eternal, it’s severely limited. In some cases, as in Lindsay’s, far more limited than it ‘should’ be; and in Rod Donald’s – in his case the fact of his dying so suddenly and without apparent cause is even more of a message to semi-deaf ears).