I have just finished reading Joe Abercrombie’s epic First Law trilogy. This is not merely a statement of fact, but a proud boast as it has only taken me since December – and as my wife would no doubt tell you;
I am a slow reader
So slow that I once had to answer a paper on the Mayor of Casterbridge based on what I had gleaned from the first three chapters, the blurb and the last chapter (read in a rush just before the exam in the vague hope of salvaging something from the experience – I didn’t)
Anyway, in the book is a character called Glokta. One of his main characteristics, other than being a ruthless and sadistic torturer, is the fact that every time he is involved in dialogue the author includes what he is thinking in italics afterwards. It is usually quite different from what is being said and amused me greatly.
I am tempted to think that reason it amused me is because, maybe, sometimes, on the odd occasion, I do that too. You know that thing? When you are talking to a colleague you don’t like that much, and saying “What are you doing at the weekend then?” and thinking ‘drowning, drowning, let it be drowning. Or getting hurt. Or both’
It is considerably worse in meetings when I am forced to sit and listen to people. I am sometimes so preoccupied with my inner dialogue of anger ‘shut up, nobody’s interested in what you think. You’re wrong – and stupid’ that I don’t notice when I am being spoken to directly and have to pretend that I was being pensive and considering what was being said.
Reading Glokta’s often unpleasant musings has made me feel less self-conscious about this behaviour, that I might not be such an oddball as I thought I was. So, I mentioned it to my wife in the car the other day……
It was with an enormous sigh of relief that I found that she does the same. Maybe this is the glue that binds us together.
Read the books if you like bloody swordfights and ferocious battles with a bit of magic thrown in for good measure.