Saturday, September 06, 2008

RD Laing


My bedtime reading at the moment is RD Laing's extraordinary Sanity, madness and the family. I'm half way through it, and I intended writing about it on here when I'd finished, but I see in today's Guardian that I've been beaten to it.

Hilary Mantell describes reading it in 1973 and being inspired. These were characters, real people. They had history. They were flawed, fascinating. It made her want to become a writer.

This is exactly what I was going to write. Read this book and all the writer's worries about character fade into insignificance. Make them real. Don't worry about trying to understand them because most of us don't understand ourselves. We contradict ourselves. We say (and believe) things which are the opposite of the way we act and react. As a primer for the aspiring writer, this book is amazing.

But more than that, for anyone interested in humanity it is humbling, sad and uplifting.

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