Quotes From My Non-Bryant & May Books No.4

Christopher Fowler
'Darkest Day' was my fourth novel and my second bash at incorporating Bryant & May into a supernatural thriller, and again I wasn't happy with the result. I had been bullied into adding the supernatural elements by the publishers, and had argued for writing a straight crime novel, but no, we ended up with 'Night of the Living Dead' and it didn't really work - or sell. I loved the central idea, though, and when the Bryant & May books took off and the schedule was stepped up I seized the chance to rewrite the book completely, placing it in the canon where it was supposed to be. The novel hinges on the first time that electric light was introduced into a public building. 'It's a shame really,' replied Bryant. 'What must it have been like in the world that existed before the 28th of December 1881? There was such a thing then as absolute darkness. And there was something else perhaps, a collective warmth, a hidden strength. People were bound together by superstition and folklore. Families were made strong by myth-making and tale-telling. I think something was lost the day they turned the lights on, something indefinable and very important.'
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Reading & Writing
Darkest Day


Alison (not verified) Wed, 15/01/2014 - 09:21

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

This was my first introduction to B&M, and I wanted more from the start. The conversation at the end about the Ford Zephyr (forgive me if I've got the model wrong) with no brakes remains a classic.

Dan Terrell (not verified) Wed, 15/01/2014 - 17:54

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I'm about the start reading the book. Look forward to it because by now I've somewhat forgotten the B&M book you turned it into.
However, where there were public buildings, surely there were also torches (of the eye-watering kind) affixed to buildings and also hung and carried lanterns. Semi-rural and rural areas would have been far darker depending on the moon and cloud cover and, yes, great for sleeping or story telling.
Last evening I read that while people went to bed earlier before the coming of sustained illumination, they usually slept for only four hours and then got up for several hours before returning to bed for another four hours of sleep. Then each day at noon they took a couple hours siesta, like the Spanish still do. This pattern, it's written, more closely duplicated our body's natural rhythms than our sleep now and people should have slept far better. Interesting.

Bride of the B… (not verified) Wed, 15/01/2014 - 18:26

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

This was the first of your books that I read. I picked it up because I loved the cover and read it in three sittings while on holiday in Istanbul, usually in the early evening with the call to prayer sounding all around. Still have a huge fondness for it and *whispers* prefer it to Seventy Seven Clocks. Sorry.

Jo W (not verified) Thu, 16/01/2014 - 12:15

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Bought and read '77 clocks' before I managed to get hold of a copy of Darkest day,so haven't yet made the comparison. It's in the pile of twelve books on my bedside table!! ( Refer to earlier comments by fellow book addicts) but I'm sure anything with B&M will be great. I've even started spotting lookalikes when I'm out and about!

jan (not verified) Thu, 16/01/2014 - 15:11

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

yes i prefer "Darkest Day" interesting that seems to be the favourite from the small selection so far.

Is the statue on the front from Stoke Newington cemetary by any chance? or if not do you recall the location the photo was taken?

Dan's point is interesting sleeping time still does vary in modern times. farmers get by on very little sleep in the summer but make up the hours in January and Feb. The harvest moon is now supplemented by headlights on the combines but whether we are having a gr8 or wet summer time still is precious in the summer months. Many village pantos take place in late Jan and February through till March because traditionally this was downtime for village dwellers. Its suprising to townies who think of panto as connected to Christmas - well it is but not exclusively.

Helen Martin (not verified) Thu, 16/01/2014 - 20:36

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I haven't read Darkest Day but I liked Seventy-Seven Clocks much better the second time I read it. I have no idea why but it was almost like reading a different book.