Barry Graham the Scrivener

fiction

Bookshelf with copies of Le Champion Nu by Barry Graham

In the events I did while in France, it was common for people not just to ask me if The Champion’s New Clothes/Le Champion Nu is autobiographical, but to seem to want it to be. (It isn’t.)

My Scottish and American novels have one thing in common: they’re the stories of people and places, not a person, and not this person. It’s currently fashionable to talk about “the right to tell your own story” — but what if, like me, you don’t want to tell your own story, because you don’t find it interesting? And “the right to tell your own story” isn’t a right, because it’s dependent on people being interested in listening to the story you’re telling. Otherwise, you’re not telling a story, just talking to yourself, and even you might not be listening.

#writing #books #fiction #AutoFiction #OwnVoices #BarryGrahamAuthor #LeChampionNu

—Barry Graham

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(from Scumbo: Tales of Love, Sex and Death)

She’d been working there for about three weeks before my visit. I didn’t want to go there. I wanted to meet her in a cafe, but she’d lost her driver’s licence, and the bus took too long to get to the centre of town. She’d have had barely any time to eat and talk with me before she had to head back there.

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(from Scumbo: Tales of Love, Sex and Death)

I know people who like being at home when it’s raining. Sitting in front of a fire, dry and warm as the rain throws itself against the windows in spiteful frustration.

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Drawing of old woman in chair knitting

Tam was always afraid of ghosts, but he didn’t want to hide from them.

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(from Scumbo: Tales of Love, Sex and Death)

“I don’t know

How it’s going to end

But I hope that we

Can meet again”

—Shonen Knife

I waited outside the theatre, but they didn’t show up. I was a few minutes late, but I’d have expected Andy to wait for me. It would be at least another thirty minutes before the movie started. Maybe Leanne had gotten impatient and dragged him inside.

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Nonfiction is defined by what it is not, rather than what it is. Fiction is not called “nonfact.” Is this because we regard fiction as the essence, or ideal, of literature? Does it resonate more with us because we innately understand it as more “real” than “true stories”?

#books #stories #nonfiction #fiction #literature

—Barry Graham

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Black Body by Bart Lessard

Earthlings by Murata Sayaka

Pine by Francine Toon

The Care Manifesto by The Care Collective

Shot by Gerard Brennan

Breasts and Eggs by Kawakami Mieko

Revolting Prostitutes by Juno Mack and Molly Smith

A Spell in the Wild by Alice Tarbuck

Girls Against God by Jenny Hval

There Is No Outside edited by Jessie Kindig, Mark Krotov, and Marco Roth

Mutual Aid by Dean Spade

Feminist City by Leslie Kern

The Southland by Johnny Shaw

Ash Mountain by Helen Fitzgerald

#books #fiction #politics #righttothecity #crimefiction #horrorfiction #barrygrahamauthor

—Barry Graham

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Authors are, with few exceptions, worthless scum. But, knowing that, even I was flaggergasted recently when I picked up a collection of stories by Chekhov, with an introduction by Richard Ford, and found the book had a biography of Ford... but not of Chekhov.

One of the few exceptions to the rule of authorial narcissism is the Icelandic novelist and poet Sjon, who, as editor of the Nordic writing anthology Dark Blue Winter Overcoat, didn't include any of his own work.

#chekhov #richardford #narcissism #authors #writers #sjon #books #fiction #barrygrahamauthor

—Barry Graham

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The latest book from my publisher, Dockyard Press, is Black Body and Other Stories by Bart Lessard.

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I first read this novel two years ago, and thought it one of the best I'd read in the last decade. Last year, I went to Reykjavik, where it's set, to get married, and it turned out to be my favourite city I've ever visited. That love of Iceland, and the awfulness of COVID-19, made me decide to reread it recently, and I liked it even better the second time.

It's set in 1918, during the Spanish flu pandemic. The protagonist is an orphaned teenage boy who lives with an elderly relative, sells sex to local men and visiting sailors, and has two obsessions: cinema, and a local girl. Then the virus arrives and spreads through the cinema crowds.

This is a short novel that tells a huge story of loneliness, class, secrets, love and friendship. It's grim and beautiful, and a book for the present time.

#sjon #barrygrahamauthor #books #fiction #bookreview #reykjavik #iceland #pandemic #covid19 #spanishflu1918

—Barry Graham

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