Posted on September 18, 2007 - by MG
Oh, but I’m a big old sucker for intertextuality. Which probably shows that deep down I’m a bit of a postmodern poseur.
I’ve mentioned this to my agent a few times – he seems to think it’s quite charming that I’ve buried references to the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Italo Calvino, Borges and Haruki Murakami in my children’s adventure stories. Some of it happened quite unconsciously – I wrote the first draft so quickly that apart from the plot, which I constructed carefully, much of the writing came straight out of my subconscious without much modification. Some of it, however, is there quite intentionally, even structurally. I won’t say what.
Months later I looked back and thought – crumbs, what have I done? I’ve given away A LOT of personal information here – that anyone who knows me well will be able to deconstruct. (N.B. I removed quite a bit of this in the editing process). And what the heck is the point of all this intertextuality?
Why do we do this? My agent thinks it’s like a secret message to readers in the know.
Which begs the question – who do we write for?
A friend of mine knows the children’s author Philip Pullman, whose ‘His Dark Materials’ books are (in my opinion) the best children’s books ever written, along with The Chronicles of Narnia and the William books. Pullman allegedly told my friend once that in ‘His Dark Materials’ he’d written a book for adults that people as young as eleven also could read.
I guess I’ve written a book for teenagers that I hope they’ll re-read as adults and go ah…now I see where you got that. My books aren’t remotely similar to those written by my literary heroes, so it’s possibly too much to hope the people who read my books will go on to read Gabo, Calvino, Murakami and Borges.
But if they did, it would be so, so, so cool.
Oh, I’ve started keeping score of people I’ve persuaded (mainly by badgering) to start reading Murakami and now they really like him too:
In chronological order: David (my husband), Nathan (close friend), Steve (a writer friend), Martin (close friend), Rich (writer friend), Peter (agent). Hmm, all blokes. I have tried to persuade a few women friends but they haven’t gone for him in quite the same way.
I have one Murakami book left to read – After Dark. I am saving it up as a treat when I finish the current manuscript. And then it’s back to re-reading him, scouring the Web for rare short stories of his and generally being a sad fangirl.