When you are, like myself, an avid reader and have read thousands of books in your lifetime, it is hard to find a book that really grips you and leaves you flabbergasted. One that, after having finished it, leaves you a different person. Fortunately once in a great while this happens and you are left fulfilled and indebted to the author. I would like to talk to you about a book that did this for me. It is by no means a new book and I have no illusions that far better and cleverer people have already expounded its virtues. It’s just that I only recently stumbled upon it and I feel the need to share my jubilation with you.
I was a customer in a certain pub, where I went to have coffee every morning. I have since moved to a different city. In this bar I had an agreement with the publican that I could, without asking, borrow any number of books from their ever-changing little in-house library, so long as I returned them in the same condition as I had taken them out. Fair enough, no? One day not so long ago, I came in and was in a hurry. I took three books without really reading the back-flaps, just judging them on their covers, as you sometimes do and which does not always work out to your advantage. One book I took out, on the single merit of its name, which intrigued me. I thought that it would be about hobgoblins, magic and all things imaginary, which I enjoy reading. Nothing could have been further from the truth!
You will notice that I have not yet told you even what this book is about. I do not intend to do so! If you will kindly trust me on just this one occasion to go and get the book from your library or bookshop and start reading it, without even reading the synopsis, you would be doing me a favor. For this is exactly what I did and boy was I ever in for a surprise! I shall divulge to you that it is a book by the author William Horwood, who wrote the Duncton books, amongst others, and is a bestselling writer of long standing.
This fine novel, which I am promoting here, is called Skallagrigg. It left me devastated, but in a good way! This superlative storyteller played me like a violin and evoked, in me, every emotion known to man and probably even a few alien ones at that. I can not begin to describe my admiration for his powers of description and narrative. I salute you, Mr. Horwood!
Should you entertain the foolish notion of following in my unprepared footsteps: prepare to get mind-blasted…