The soup kitchen? Men Adrift

This session featuring Charlotte Wood , A.D. Miller and Roddy Doyle felt, to use a culinary simile, a little like a canny cook was boiling up the chicken bones from last night’s roast dinner to extract every last bit of flavour to make stock for the soup pot.

These three tasty authors have been kept pretty busy with their individual sessions and a variety of panel presentations but the festival programmers perhaps wanted even more bangs for their buck. The sometimes tenuous theme for discussion was on the “lost” men at the centre of each of these authors’ stories.

The session, while both interesting and entertaining was a flavoursome but thin consommé rather than the hearty broth maybe intended. Thematic cohesion proved a little elusive although some interesting audience questions on the definition of modern masculinity and fictional templates of manhood helped pull the session into more shape.

Notable moments included Roddy Doyle’s observation that five-aside football is the male equivalents of the female book club and the question posed in one of his short stories from Bullfighting “Is a bad relationship better than none?”

AD Miller captured the female vote when he said “women have a tougher time than men and I doesn’t have much time for men whinging about how terrible their lot in life is.”

Well said my man!

Three fantastic authors but a theme that seemed slightly adrift.

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