A novel to escape from reality

Dusk at 10 pm in London.

As I sit in front of the dining room window, I see the silhouette of the tall trees behind my garden.

I hear the hum of my refrigerator from the kitchen.

I am finally awake after triple dosing on out-of-date antihistamines that drowned me in drowsiness amid sneezing fits on this sunny but windy day. Sadly, it is my excuse for doing nothing else but read the 326-page paperback that arrived yesterday.

Just published in 2016, “What She Never Told Me” is Kate McQuaile‘s debut novel, but already I am itching to read her second which comes out this October.

Told in the present tense, the story brings the reader along the journey of finding the truth about a London-based Irish musician’s father that she never knew. I can see how it could easily be made into a movie, for there are plenty of well-written dialogues and vividly-described characters. Having lived in London and visited Dublin and County Kerry, I am intrigued about Drogheda where the main character’s childhood was spent.

This is the kind of fiction I fear the most to read: one that takes over my life such that I cannot put it down until I’ve finished reading it, and at the same time, one that I dread finishing because my escape from reality will end if I do. It is the reason that I’m hesitant to read fiction, get disappointed if I don’t get into it immediately, and feel enslaved if I do get addicted and can’t put it down. You could say, I have a love-hate relationship with novels.

The author is an ex-colleague from my days in energy publishing/reporting and someone whom I had accompanied on the piano at my soirees in 2001. I knew she read a lot of books, for once she gave me a handful of books she had read.

Someone at my ukulele club who is writing a novel told me: to write you need to be reading a lot of books of the same genre. I once told a friend that I considered fiction to be the hardest thing to write but one that I aspire to because it allows the reader to escape from reality. Self-help books don’t. I suppose the author also gets to escape from reality. I wouldn’t know. I haven’t written fiction.

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