Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Some thoughts about influences in this post.

No book comes into being  completely of its own accord. Behind every book are the ghosts of many others, some more easily discernible than others. In a sense, one of the reasons any book comes to be written is as a result of a discussion or argument the writer is having with other books that she or he has read. All those different voices are speaking in the writer's head, and the writer somehow merges them together to make a new voice, the voice of the new book. But in that new voice you can hear whispers of the all the other voices. Most writers are very aware of this and it's important to acknowledge it. We don't write alone, but in the company of other writers, those we admire, love, perhaps are even exasperated by but whose voices are so strong and powerful they're impossible to ignore.

So it is with "The Hunt for the Great Bear". When I set out to write the novel, over five years ago now, I knew from the start that there were some writers and works that were having a direct influence on it. Later, I've discovered others, and there are probably more lurking somewhere in the background I'm not yet aware of. I suppose a case could be made for saying that everything I've ever read has, in one way or another, found its way into the book. But, for now, here's a list of some of those works I'm aware of having influenced the writing of the book.

"Moby Dick" Herman Melville

"The Inheritors" William Golding

"RiddleyWalker" Russell Hoban

"The Caledonian Boar Hunt", as recounted by Robert Graves in "The Greek Myths"

"The Odyssey" Homer

The Innuit myth of Sedna

"The Crossing" Cormac McCarthy

"The Head" a short story by Ted Hughes (from "Difficulties of a Bridegroom")

"In The Shape of a Boar" Lawrence Norfolk

"Huckleberry Finn" Mark Twain

"The Epic of Gilgamesh"

I 've compiled this list principally for my own amusement, but I do hope that you're amused by it too. And intrigued.


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