Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Rosie Garland's launch of The Palace of Curiosities

This is my first chance to write about the launch last week of Rosie Garland'sThe Palace of Curiosities, which won the Myslexia competition for a debut novel (I wrote about that here.) I must say it's weird going out when you haven't done so for ages (see what writing can do to you!) (how cold is it in the evenings nowadays? What clothes, in any case, have you got to wear - you can hardly remember). I must say too that these Waterstone's reading events aren't what they were - there was no wine, we were kept waiting outside the door to the reading room and then herded in all at once, but in spite of all that, so great is Rosie's popularity that the room was packed to the gunnels with a cheering, whooping audience eager to hear her read from the novel. And she didn't disappoint. Anyone who has experienced Rosie's performances as a compere will know of her energy, her arresting visual style and especially her witty way with language, and all of these are evident in the novel, the tale of the crossed lives of two unusual narrators, a 'lion-woman' covered in hair, and a man whose body when injured instantly heals. I'm about a quarter-way through the book: the characters are fascinating, and Victorian London is vividly captured, and of course the language sparkles like sharp-cut jewels.

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