Sidetracked by Deep Hanging Out

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Since Korakas is set in Crete, I couldn’t resist picking this up and having a read. I thought I’d check out how Richard Gwyn tackled the place. Funnily enough, although his book is far from what I am aiming for, we have the same feelings about the place – Crete that is – a land of stories and mis-information, myths and legends which tip over into reality. There’s a fair amount of sex in his book, and little more than sexual tension in mine. Mind you, his sex is very clear and unfussy, does what it says, no more, no less. Not gratuitous, just there. His book is set in the 1980s. My ex lived on the island for a while in the 70s and much of what he remembers is echoed in Gwyn’s version of the place, which is pretty close to how I remember the place when I lived there during the late 80s and early 90s.

I don’t suppose I would have picked up Gwyn’s book to read were it not for the setting, but I’m glad I did. It’s easy to get into habits with books and I enjoyed reading something that I ordinarily might have passed over. I did have the odd inward groan that he discusses topics which I cover in my as-yet-incomplete book, and writes passages in italics – as I do in parts of mine – although his italics are a stream of consciousness and mine are for the character of the mother. I suppose it would be impossible to write about a place like Crete without echoing some other book which has come before. At least it shows that if Korakas were published it may well pick up readers curious about the setting as much as those curious about the story.

If you have ever visited Crete, Hania in particular, I think you would enjoy reading Deep Hanging Out. If you enjoyed his last book The Colour of a Dog Running Away I reckon you should give it a whirl. If neither of the above apply, you could give it a whirl anyway. It took me a while to settle into, but I did eventually and I’m glad I did. I wasn’t too keen on the young protagonist, Cosmo Flute, but I don’t suppose I was meant to be. There were moments where I felt it was a bit over-written and Gwyn packed in too much factual/political information, perhaps a bit heavy handed in places, but the politics of Crete is quite heavy, so he’s forgiven. I may even have to lend my copy to the ex – much as it pains me to share with him – but I think he would appreciate the book, if only to reminisce about his home from way back.

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1 comment so far

  1. No other book? « C r a f t y P e o p l e on

    […] on Anne’s blog, she also has spread her wings for sunnier climes and has been reading a book set on the island of […]


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