Brigid Brophy

Wrong End of the Shelf: Strange Books I Love

Why we should be seduced away from the reading mainstream. For me it started with the plotless symbolist novel ‘À Rebours’ by Joris-Karl Huysmans, in which the hero locks himself away in his house near Fontenay to live in artificial decadence rather than follow the natural order. The strangest thing that happens in the (non) narrative […]

Writing Week 4: The Rulebreakers

  In uncertain times we demand more rules, not fewer The history of fiction, by which I mean all fiction – I’m not interested in separating ‘literature’ from ‘genre’ – follows the growth pattern of all the arts; rules are established, traditional forms are developed, rules are broken. But something odd happened in fiction that […]

Scatterbrain

I received an online comment from someone who admired my ‘eclectic mind’, to which I replied that I was simply a scatterbrain. The brain is a selective organ. Some receive data but don’t sense atmospheres, others over-empathise without understanding facts. It seems that when we are young we’re generally emotional and impulsive, and as we […]

Your Questions Answered: Taking It Apart

In ‘Sunday In The Park With George’ we see an artist gradually assembling the component parts for what will become his most famous painting, ‘Un dimanche après-midi à l’Île de la Grande Jatte’, by Georges Seurat. We’re fascinated by how things are created. Yesterday, reader Anchovee says it’s a shame that I should pick apart a successful film […]

Forum: Should Writers Write For The Market?

  In film industry terms the summer’s over, and it was another year of disappointments in Hollywood. Only one studio did well; Disney had four of the five biggest hits. What’s noticeable is how super-safe everything became this year. The top five films were ‘The Jungle Book’ (remake of cartoon), ‘Finding Dory’ (kiddie sequel), ‘Zootopia’ […]

Wonderful Books, Awful Books

Now that ‘Invisible Ink’ is finally wending its way toward us in a definitive form (publishers being met, deals being studied etc) I find myself with a dilemma. The weekly column, which ran for almost ten years in the Independent on Sunday, perfectly suits expansion into a longform format, but I’d like to sift the […]

The Author As Traveller

One thing writers need constantly is fresh inspiration, otherwise we end up writing about writers writing. I travel whenever I can, which is to say, when there’s time and money. Living next door to an international railway station (sorry, I can’t bring myself to use ‘train station’) means that I can get anywhere in Europe […]