the captivating beginnings of a reluctant novelist


To start with the afterword, Nat Ogle’s debut novel ends with an essay on why writing it might not have been a good idea. Coming from a family of health professionals, he feels guilty for having become an author instead of something useful like a nurse, and “questions the usefulness of literature in the face of material misery and suffering. “.

As the novel is about a woman who accepts being raped, he is also worried about having appropriated as a subject “a form of suffering that I myself … cannot live”, and hopes that the book justifies his. existence by “[ing] shedding light on the social and economic causes of certain forms of suffering ”. If he fails on this point, he thinks, “I might look for another more honorable career.” But I hope Ogle will stick to the dishonorable business of literature for now; he seems like a damn good novelist.

Most of the book includes excerpts from the blog of Corina, a nurse, and the diaries of her ex-boyfriend Cameron, who Corina accused of raping her. The rest is material – transcripts of police interviews, character reference letters, etc. You can tell Cameron is not trustworthy because he has an artistic and useless job (he’s an actor) but although it quickly becomes apparent that his psyche is a very dark place, Ogle manages to make him. a compelling, likable and entertaining character. personage. More impressive still, he does the same for the virtuous and compassionate Corina.

It’s Ogle’s ability to create attention-grabbing characters that stands out here, rather than his analysis of the social and economic causes of suffering. Hopefully, rather than chopping down tools, he comes to think that it’s worth doing it for himself.

Into The Showy Hands of Others is released by Serpent’s Tale for £ 14.99. To order your copy, call 0844 871 1514 or visit Telegraph bookstore


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