A much better week for me. I have just finished reading The First Casualty by Ben Elton and it has made me feel humbled and very lucky. Plus green with envy at his writing skills. The Elton book is about Word War One, the so called Great War, which was, like all wars, a total disaster. So many people killed for a few metres of ground, on both sides of course. The ordinary man sent as sacrificial lambs to the slaughter. The fascinating thing about Elton is his power at writing satire. In the novel he shows clearly the obscenity of war, the soldiers living and dying in mud and water, men covered in lice and sores and living with rats in the trenches. Dead men trampled over by the next wave of men sent 'over the top' to be machine gunned down by the opposing army and yet he also manages to weave into it stories of love and friendship, plus a little sex, but also a couple of scenes of Monty Pythonesque humour. A scene where ordinary soldiers discuss how WW1 started sums up the stupidity of it all. The satire is superb. (I confess that as I did my MA on political satire I have a special affinity with this genre.) Truth is of course the First Casualty of all wars...look at the current fiascos around the world. This now extends to the war on drugs, the war on terrorism and the war on refugees. Truth is so often hidden beneath the rhetoric. It's enough to make a person wonder.
And so I get down to wondering how to improve the first scenes of my next book.Not satire exactly but a little tongue in cheek, like Day and Knight was.