Wednesday, January 24, 2007

One Of My Narrators On The Academic's Couch

FWTBR - now academically analysed
It's not untrue to state that there are very few people on this planet who have read my book (see links, right). All the more astonishing, then, to find one of its stories, The Man In The Mascot, analysed as part of a German's academic thesis on the subject ‘The Depiction and Function of Football In Contemporary British Literature’.
    I came across the entire thesis while fiddling about with my Googles on the internet. I contacted the author, Sonja Wild, and asked her if it would be okay to translate the chapter on my story and post it on my website, and she was more than happy to consent. As when the book was translated into Czech, it won't make me much money, but it feels at least as though it has been acknowledged by the Brainy Community, just as the Czech edition gave me the comforting, if entirely deceptive, feeling that the book had somehow edged a tiny step closer to the world of Kundera, Klima and Skvorecky.
    And strange as it is to see your work encompassed in a sentence like: "The figure of Jacob [the narrator] stands not just for failure in itself, but also for the relationship between self-loathing and professional fulfilment," you realise that not only has the author of the thesis summed it up rather nicely, but she has made some spot-on interpretations you perhaps never intended, or consciously thought of, when you wrote the story in the first place.
    I liked this bit, for example: "In Plenderleith’s tragi-comic story a world is evoked in which there are not just winners and losers in the game of football, but in which the weekly humiliation of the mascot stands in stark contrast to the idolisation of the players." Though maybe there are happy and fulfilled mascots out there without a drinking problem, and with a steady girlfriend, who would beg to disagree.
    The whole thesis, covering authors such as Nick Hornby, John King and Attila the Stockbroker, can be read, only in German, here.


Eric Lowe said...


Terrific. I have been meaning to read your book now for, I don't know, around 6 years! Glad to see you in the annals of academia.

BTW, caught your appearance on Brian Halliday's podcast the other week. Nicely done. Though, I have to say, he is a bizarre character.

Eric Lowe said...

...just ordered it. Hope to see at a match this year.

Ian said...

Thanks, Eric - you've just doubled sales for the month of January. Let me know how you get on with it. The one good thing about football fiction is that it tends to age much better than a lot of other football book genres, so the fact that it's been six years since publication shouldn't put anyone off buying it. Heh, it's a slow burner alright. See you at RFK.