Magazine article The Spectator

BOO K E N D S Novel Ways of Writing

Magazine article The Spectator

BOO K E N D S Novel Ways of Writing

Article excerpt

If you consider 'gripping metafiction' a sel f-cont rad ictory ph ra se (su rely metafiction disables tension through it s w ink-at-the-aud ience style? ), Nicholas Royle's F i rs t Nove l (Cape, £16.99), which is in fact his seventh, may change your mind. Royle (pictu red above) teache s creat ive writing at Manchester University, and in this book he gives us Paul Kinder, who teaches creative writing at Manchester while trying to write a novel. The compa r i son s that we are invited to draw are clear, but to complicate things the novel also contains 'Nicholas', a character in a novel la by G race , one o f Pau l's students; Nicholas has the same name and is the same age as the author. What makes us think and indeed hope that neither Pau l nor Nichola s i s t ru ly a l l that clo sely based on Royle becomes apparent as the two characters' stories darken and develop. …

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