Books: The Dogme It Was That Died ; the `New Puritans' Call for Austerity in Fiction. Heresy, Argues Nicholas Royle
Royle, Nicholas, The Independent (London, England)
Dreaming of Strangers
by Matt Thorne
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, pounds 9.99, 243pp
IN HIS third novel, Matt Thorne appears to be gearing up for the no-frills literary movement he and Nicholas Blincoe are to co- sponsor this autumn when their anthology, All Hail the New Puritans, is published. Inspired by the Dogme 95 manifesto adhered to by Danish moviemakers Lars Von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg and Soren Kragh- Jacobsen, Blincoe and Thorne are going back to basics. Since their aim is to strip narrative down to its bare essentials, they have insisted that contributors eschew such devices as flashbacks or dual narratives. Outlawed are the techniques that can turn straightforward narrative into exceptional fiction. Rhetoric? No, thank you. Stylistic flourishes? Uh-uh.
Dreaming of Strangers clearly shows the influence of the New Puritan orthodoxy. The novel has been stripped down so far it's a car on bricks, a building without utilities, a screenplay lacking only the lines that say EXT. SOHO. DAY. It's got dialogue in spades, lots of it unattributed. But that's sort of the point, since the characters are pretty much interchangeable, possibly deliberately. It's got a pitch: girl (Becca) has affair with boy (Chris), but doesn't let on that he's renting her flat. Like Toby Litt's Corpsing, it's got a fantastically unlikely cab driver and, like Tim Lott's White City Blue, an unfeasibly likeable estate agent.
Chris, a film critic writing a book about romantic comedies, is looking for a flat. He takes the place that has a poster for Drugstore Cowboy on the wall. It belongs to Becca, a twentysomething film buff who fancies herself as a femme …
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Publication information: Article title: Books: The Dogme It Was That Died ; the `New Puritans' Call for Austerity in Fiction. Heresy, Argues Nicholas Royle. Contributors: Royle, Nicholas - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: July 22, 2000. Page number: 9. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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