What I am reading: ‘One more time: a novel’
Writing a novel – a writer’s journal part 23
What I am reading: ‘One more time: a novel’ by Damien Leith
The children’s novel I am writing is set in Nepal. Until the last few weeks I was unaware of any novels written by Australians which were set in that fascinating part of the world. By searching the internet I have found several novels with this setting written by non-Australians. More recently I have discovered one written for teenagers by a Tasmanian writer. I have purchased this one and look forward to reading it. I also came across several picture books by local Nepali authors. There seem to be very few-perhaps none at all-written by Australian authors for younger readers. It could well be that mine is the first.
I did manage to get hold of a copy of a novel for adults which is set in Nepal. Author Damien Leith was born in Ireland but became an Australian citizen in 2007. His novel One more time covers a similar era to my story. The protagonist Sean is an Irishman trekking through Nepal at about the same time as my story is set (2006) during the political turmoil which destabilized Nepal over the decade leading up to that point in its history.
Sean has constant thoughts of home and family in Ireland, a place he left suddenly. He is covering up a deep secret and his difficult and challenging trek through the Annapurna Mountains in Nepal mirrors the deep spiritual and emotional journey he is struggling with in his mind. There is a very real threat from the Maoist guerrillas who demand ‘donations’ to their cause. Sean befriends several erratic people who do little to stabilize the turmoil of his life. Both his inner life and the external events around him threaten to totally derail his life, but somehow he finds the fortitude to deal with his obsessive secret.
I found this novel to be an enjoyable read but not a great deal of use in helping me with the writing of my novel. That’s not a problem; mine is a totally different story.
For anyone reading this review, the author Damien Leith is the same person who won television’s Australian Idol 2006. I wonder if this novel would have been published if a non celebrity had written it. Sorry-I sometimes get a little cynical about these things. It’s still a good read, but won’t ever be regarded as great literature. (Update: one of my Twitter readers suggested that his novel was with the publishers before he entered Australian Idol. The fact remains that he signed the contract 4 months after winning Idol. I rest my case.)
P.S. I believe he is writing another novel. [sigh]
UPDATE: The Wikipedia article on him states that his new book will be released in 2010.
- Writing a novel – more articles in this series about how I went about writing my novel.
- Leith, D 2007, One more time: a novel, Harper Collins Publishers, Sydney.