Brona’s Salon is a new meme which aims to gather a group of like-minded bookish people ‘under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine the taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation.’
I will provide a few prompts to inspire our conversation.
However please feel free to discuss your current read or join in the conversation in any way that you see fit.
Amusement, refinement and knowledge will surely follow!
What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet.
How did you find out about this book?
It was one that was generally enjoyed, with some reservations about it being worthy enough for a literary award.
Why are you reading it now?
I’m trying to read half the Booker shortlist before the big announcement next week.
Entertaining historical fiction with a metafiction touch – is this a memoir or not?
What is real? What is fiction?
Is there such a thing as fictional true crime?
Metafiction seems to be a literary device that lots of writers are playing with right now.
I’m thinking of Do Not Say We Have Nothing
by Madeleine Thien with her book within the book, Elena Ferrante’s ambiguous ‘is it memoir is it real’ Neapolitan tetraology
, Michelle de Kretser’s Springtime: A Ghost Story
with its discussion mid-story about the nature of ghost stories, Kent Haruf’s use of the same fictional town in all his stories and the referencing of his previous books in Our Souls At Night
and Alain de Botton’s use of footnotes to address issues brought up in his narrative in The Course of Love
And that’s just some of the books I’ve read this year that can be classified as metafiction!
Wikipedia describes metafiction as –
A story about a writer who creates a story.
A story that features itself as a narrative or as a physical object.
A story containing another work of fiction within itself.
Narrative footnotes which continue the story while commenting on it.
A story that reframes or suggests a radically different reading of another story.
A story addressing the specific conventions of story, such as title, character conventions, paragraphing or plots.
A novel where the narrator intentionally exposes him or herself as the author of the story.
A story in which the authors refers to elements of the story as both fact and fiction.
A book in which the book itself seeks interaction with the reader.
A story in which the readers of the story itself force the author to change the story.
A story in which the characters are aware that they are in a story.
A story in which the characters make reference to the author or his previous work.
Have you read any metafiction books recently?
Which character do you relate to so far?
I’m not sure if relate is the right word, but I certainly feel empathy for Roddy’s sister Jetta.
She has no rights, no protection but all the care and responsibility of looking after her family.
Are you happy to continue?
I can see Burnet building a case whereby the bullying, mean, officious Mackenzie Broad family got what they deserved (by being murdered), but it seems too neat and too obvious.
Is Roddy a reliable narrator?
The Macrae stoicism and acceptance of fate as being their lot in life feels a trifle overdone.
I’m enjoying the details of Scottish croft life – as bleak and as hard as it was.
Despite the topic, this is a fun psychological thriller read, but I can feel a bit of a drag creeping in.
I hope Burnet doesn’t get bogged down or lose his way.
Where do you think the story will go?
We know that Roddy killed the Mackenzie Broad’s from the start.
He didn’t hide or deny what happened.
But is he covering for someone – his father? his sister?
I can see that his advocate is leaning towards an insanity plea – is this a ploy? Or a real concern about Roddy’s mental state.
His journal currently presents a logical, thoughtful, intelligent man.