"It is the year 2050 and the year’s resources can no longer support its population. The prime minister’s radical solution — euthanasia at the age of 70 — will shortly result in the death of his father. How will his family and the wider population react?"
This is the outline of the collaborative story (the fifth of five options) that Cathy is working on for the Scriblist group-novel project. So far there are two chapters published on the site. Cathy wrote and submitted a chapter 2 which was shortlisted but not selected for publication. However, the site’s "teachers and educators" sent her some helpful feedback and encouraged her to write and submit a chapter 3. So she’s now written it and sent it off. I read it before she sent it, and think it is pretty good. I’ve attached it here, together with the earlier chapters. If you would like to read these (short, I promise) chapters, please do so, and if you’d like to comment on them, either here or to Cathy directly at her blog Oasis, she’d be delighted. The Oasis post contains helpful instructions for how to comment on and rank Cathy’s chapter at the Scriblist site.
A couple of novels by new(ish) authors look pretty good, from the review in Saturday’s Times. One is "Let the Northern Lights Erase your Name" by an author with the unlikely name of Vendela Vida, about a young woman’s search for her mother. From the review:
"Vida’s prose has the purity of the Lapland winter that it describes. This is not to say that she writes the blanched prose of, say, Coetzee, or that her uncluttered writing lacks warmth and feeling. Behind the measured beauty of her sentences glide vast emotional currents. This is far from the minimalism of Raymond Carver; the writing possesses the clarity of church bells or winter light. And Vida has Ali Smith’s ability of investing an austere sentence of observation with an entire microclimate of inner weather. "
The second is "The Dissident" by Nell Freudenberger. "To discover a young writer not disappearing into postmodern doodling or navel-gazing but training her formidable acuity on big themes – authenticity and copying, truth and lies, posterity and the present – is news indeed. Freudenberger’s novel unfolds into that rare thing, a work of poetics itself, a meditation on the nature of representation in art. The fact that she does it with such wit and compassion, such generosity of mind and heart, is miraculous. "
The reviewer is Neel Mukherjee.