Robert Pimm: novels, short stories and more

Home » Writing: about writing

Category Archives: Writing: about writing

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5,553 other followers

Trollope on the sexes – and the “railway sandwich”

How men and women think, and whether there is a difference, is one of the abiding puzzles of life.  We all want to understand other people.  Many of us want to understand the opposite sex.

How can we understand men, or women?

One of the wisest writers on relationships between the sexes was the 19th century British writer Anthony Trollope.  My piece Trollope: 11 reasons to read him sets out his awesome qualities (links in bold italics are to other posts on this blog) – including the fact that much of what he wrote is still 100% current.  More Trollope links are at the end of this post.

Trollope’s 1869 novel He Knew He Was Right examines relations between the sexes in detail.  You can explore quotations from the book below on men (6), on women (9), on relationships (22), on literary criticism (1) and finally (as a reminder of Trollope’s wit and continued relevance) on “the railway sandwich”.

Nothing changes.  Enjoy!

My Trollope Society edition of “He Knew He Was Right” has 823 pages

On Men

The reader may be quite certain that Colonel Osborne had no premeditated evil intention when he allowed himself to become the intimate friend of his old friend’s daughter. There was nothing fiendish in his nature. He was not a man who boasted of his conquests. He was not a ravening wolf going about seeking whom he might devour, (more…)

Goldfinger: “Oddjob: the Pressure Room”

‘Are the James Bond novels any good?’ a friend asked me the other day.

‘They are anachronistic, homophobic and sexist,’ I replied.  ‘But James Bond himself is a splendid creation and some of the novels tell a terrific yarn.’

The cover of my Folio Society edition of “Goldfinger” is almost parodic

Unfortunately, Goldfinger is my least favourite Bond book so far (I have read, this time round, Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, Moonraker, Diamonds are Forever and From Russia with Love – reviews below).  The narrative is short on drive and tension and the plot makes no sense.  Why, for example, when (no spoilers here) Bond has driven villain Auric Goldfinger to a paroxysm of suspicion, (more…)

Marilyn Monroe and 5 ways to turn experience into fiction

I have finished reading from my book Seven Hotel Stories when a guy in the audience raises his hand.

‘How much of these stories is made up, and how much is real?’ he asks.  ‘And in general, how do you use your real life to create fiction?’

This struck me as a great question.  How much of fiction is the writer’s experience, and how much is made up?  Suppose you work as a lawyer, or in an insurance office, and are not an astronaut, a detective, or an assassin?  Can you still write about something thrilling?

Marilyn Monroe trained hard to become an actress

Here are five ways you can turn your experience into compelling fiction:

(i) anyone can write great stuff: don’t worry about who you are, or what you do.  All you need is a paper and a pen, or a screen and a keyboard.  The trick is to get started (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site);

(ii) do use what you know to help write your story: whatever you can do and however you live, you can draw on your life experience to create rich, multi-layered fiction.  John Grisham started out repairing roads, then became a lawyer – he used his legal knowledge to write The Firm.  Tom Clancy worked in insurance: his hero Jack Ryan is, like Clancy, of Irish Catholic stock; (more…)

Pictures from my reading in Innsbruck

What do you think a reading with Robert Pimm looks like?

I was delighted on 18 October to read from my Berlin thriller Blood Summit in Innsbruck.  

Some pictures:

The reading took place at the magnificent Stadtbibliotek

Q&A afterwards with Andrew Milne-Skinner

Questions were incisive and challenging

Afterwards I signed copies of “Blood Summit” and “Seven Hotel Stories”

As I mentioned in my curtain-raising post (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site), the reading was organised by the excellent English Reading Circle in Innsbruck.  I am particularly grateful to Maria Kandolf-Kühne, who brought the book to the Reading Circle and suggested I do a reading in Innsbruck; and to Andrew and Sandra Milne-Skinner, who were instrumental in setting things up.

If you want to know more about Blood Summit, see my blog Blood Summit: the US President in the killing chair.  It is available from English language bookshop Shakespeare & Company at Sterngasse 2 in central Vienna, or from Amazon.  If you have a book group, you may like to read my blog post Blood Summit: Reading Group Questions.

I also presented in Innsbruck my recently-published paperback of Seven Hotel Stories.  It seemed to go down well.

 

P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, please follow me on Facebook.  Or you can join my mailing list – I’ll be delighted to give you a free “Hotel Story” to say thanks.  Check out the range of writing on this site via my 5 pleasure paths.

 

Friday 18 October: come to my live reading in Innsbruck!

Hello to all you readers out there.

I shall be reading from my Berlin thriller Blood Summit at the Stadtbibliotek (city library) in Innsbruck at 1900 on 18 October.  Come along!

The reading has been organised by the English Reading Circle in Innsbruck at the magnificent Stadtbibliotek, whose rather good slogan is “Innsbruck’s biggest living room – a place for everyone”.  This seems a splendid description of a library.  You can read about the event at the site of the Stadtbibliotek.  I shall read from Blood Summit and will be happy to answer questions, as well as signing copies. (more…)

From Russia with Love: sexist, homophobic cold war time capsule

What if Ian Fleming wrote a James Bond novel in which the hero did not appear until halfway through?

The cover of my Folio Society edition of “From Russia with Love” is by Fay Dalton

Such a book exists.  It is the fifth novel in the series, From Russia with Love, which came out in 1957.  The first ten chapters of the book outline a dastardly Soviet plot to kill Bond.  They take place in Crimea and Moscow within the bureaucracy of SMERSH – an actual organisation created by Stalin in 1943 whose name is an acronym for “SMErt SHpionam” or “death to spies”.

These chapters introduce two of Fleming’s most memorable villains: (more…)

Diamonds are Forever: civil servants and “shills”

A new James Bond movie, No Time to Die, lurches over the horizon.  Will it be any good?

Almost certainly not (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site).

Will it contain bizarre and dated attitudes to women, clothed in feeble nods to political correctness?  Almost certainly.

But I will keep hoping.

Despite the ghastliness of most recent Bond outings, I remain a fan of the original Ian Fleming novels.  I am the proud owner of a growing set of Folio Society editions, and recently read Diamonds are Forever, whose illustrations by Fay Dalton evoke the mood of the book:

The story moves at a leisurely pace.  Bond does not take the menace of US gangsters seriously, and attempts a relationship with the magnificent but damaged Tiffany Case before a satisfying resolution on board a transatlantic liner.  Like many in the series, it contains a good deal of language which by today’s standards is racist, homophobic and misogynistic.  I tend to feel that such texts should not put a book out of bounds for today’s audiences, even if they make a modern reader cringe: they are a reminder of how far we have come.  But many readers may feel differently.

Diamonds are Forever also contains some splendid set-piece descriptions, for example of the “Acme Mud and Sulphur Baths” or of US horse-racing at Saratoga, which are reminiscent of the descriptions of fox-hunting and cross-country horse racing which appear regularly in Trollope. (more…)

%d bloggers like this: