Monday, 22 March 2010

A Kind of Intimacy

I blogged about listening to Jenn Ashworth read from her novel A Kind of Intimacy here. I started reading the book on Saturday morning and finished it by teatime: it was a book that I couldn’t put down. I watched Notes on a Scandal recently and the comparison that Alison Flood makes between the two stories is apt, although I found A Kind of Intimacy more terrifying, which probably had something to do with Annie’s size and age: twenty eight is very young to be so damaged and Annie’s obesity tends towards Stephen King's Misery (Anne Wilkes), rather than the jolly Father Christmas kind.
A Kind of Intimacy was especially disquieting because of Annie’s humanity – her nervousness in social situations, her desire to make friends, her faux pas and her reliance on the advice of self help books all engender empathy – the reader is torn between liking Annie and despising her, between understanding and disgust, between pity and anger. Jenn’s reading of the book was extremely entertaining and as a result I expected it to be much funnier than it was, however it was intriguing and intense and I didn’t feel in any way cheated when I reached the end.
After I finished the book I carried the residue of it with me for the rest of the evening. I was disquieted, uneasy; I felt stirred up and slightly jumbly. I like a book that does that to me; a book that makes me think, knocks me for six, picks me up and gives me a good shake.


  1. Emily Dickinson had some lovely thoughts on powerful literature. "....I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off...." She was saying that about poetry, but hey.

  2. Thanks Martin, I like that.