Springtime for Hitler

That’s around 50k of the words written for the next Aberdeenshire tome. It’s taken much less time than I thought but at least the few weeks left prior the publisher’s deadline can be used to good effect. Ice-cream on a distant beach with a brown-eyed lover beckons at the very least.
I have still to pen a second draft. And an index. And some final structure. And a third draft. But hey, it’s all looking good. Apart from the reviews. Yes, the reviews. They can make or break the budding author and in the big scheme of things can murder even the best-planned marketing strategy.

I well recall being asked on occasion to review other people’s books. Most submissions were fine and even if I knew nothing about Highland bothies or Harper’s cast-iron Aberdonian fenceposts I soon got to grips with the authors mindset and produced a fair and balanced review.

The only one I was unable to get my head around was a novel by a man called Bill. Rarely, aside from Joyce’s’ Ulysses, have I read such a difficult book. The text began oddly and perhaps clumsily with an “admonitory finger” and I quickly concluded that it was difficult to erase suspicion that Bill’s novel was, at best, the ghost-written product of a very well-meaning-storyteller. In chapter one a young, fit and “very strong man” stepped out of a “battered old Land Rover” and sensed a “superior authority in the older man’s misdeamour.”

Some “Denim trousers and short rig boots” featured alongside a conspiratorial “criminal network vaster than they could have ever imagined”. It went on and on to some tabloid induced conclusion involving invaders from Mars. On p337 “Harry looked at the front cover and smiled at the title. It’s Only Money.” And it had been worse along the way. 
Needless to say my review was never published, due mainly to an agreement with the editor that the book was let down in part by poor editing and Bill’s sometimes unfathomable take on reality. One wonders, in retrospect, if he perhaps penned this novel some years ago on some wildly rolling North Sea oil-rig but was somehow prevented from re-evaluating the content prior to publication.

Hopefully my unpublished take on this ambitious novel was simply a minority opinion however it is hard to have a positive word for the author’s assertion that there will be a part two of his expansive tale about the oil industry. I cruelly concluded “Indeed, the only thing missing within this lengthy text was an invasion of earth by a race of extra-terrestrials intent on murdering fiction.”
I had planned to review Son of A preacher Man tonight at HMT but some health issues prevented me attending. Suffice it to say that said review would have no doubt have compared the Dusty inspired musical to Bialystock’s Springtime for Hitler.

Duncan Harley is the author of The A-Z of Curious Aberdeenshire


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