I become the books I read.
Chameleon like, I take on the speech patterns and idiosyncracies of the characters on the page. This is not too detrimental to everyday life and personal relationships when I am reading something sunny and upbeat, but when I am in the throes of a dark, dysfunctional read – woe betide.
David Vann is one of the authors at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival 2011. I took his book Caribou Island on a recent trip to Sydney. From the get go, the book and real life became intertwined. As the plane ascended, the passenger in front of me took ill and the fruits of her labour flowed back into my handbag narrowly missing Caribou Island. A clear case of real life mirroring the many physical discomforts of this book.
Fortunately there wasn’t much time for reading in Sydney or, given my chameleon tendencies, I’d have morphed into an unfulfilled wife sniping at her husband’s bumbling failures. Add in a whole bunch of “searching for self” young people in bitterly cold, isolated Alaska and the scene is set. Sounds bleak I know, but the message that comes across (live your dream, not someone else’s) is so well wrought, I guarantee you will relish your reading of this book.
The sick passenger on the plane was tended to by a very young doctor, the apple of his mother’s eye to be sure, who had (after eight years of study and vast sums of money) chosen this day to wear his “Musician Searching for Groupies” t-shirt!
And the chameleon in me does not believe it would have happened like this had I been reading a Danielle Steel!