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.