Thursday, December 9, 2010

All about books: The Distant Hours

I finished reading Kate Morton's new book The Distant Hours today. I bought it a couple of months ago and then put off reading it, savouring its presence on the To Be Read pile. I am an unabashed fan of Ms Morton's writing, having devoured both The Shifting Fog and The Forgotten Garden. I find her particular combination of storytelling and beautiful prose, overlaid with a whiff of family saga, quite compelling.

The Distant Hours did not disappoint. But now it is over. As with the best stories, I never wanted to leave the world that had been created. This time, however, I'm taking a little something extra with me.

"She says there are stories everywhere and that people who wait for the right one to come along before setting pen to paper end up with very empty pages. That's all writing is, apparently, capturing sights and thoughts on paper."

That quote really resonated with me. It sums up much of what I've said before about 'waiting for the muse'. It reminded me that writing is about capturing what goes on around us. Bringing our own particular spin to the everyday.

It stayed with me as I watched Mr6's Christmas concert tonight. The pinched, anxious face of a child looking for Mum and Dad in the crowd. The wide smile that lights that face as he spots the hands waving wildly in support. The tall blonde sprite wearing the 'Elves Gone Wild' t-shirt, completely deadpan throughout the whole performance. The unabashed joy of the Kindy kids in their Santa hats and Angel halos, beaming as they work through their 'choralography', contrasted with the excruciating group self-consciousness of the sixth-grade class.

Small moments every one of them. Each a family saga in itself.



  1. Now I'm simply dying to read that book!!

    I love your words, too.

  2. Yes, that's it exactly.

    That made me cry.

  3. Thanks to you I now have another writer I need to read! And I love the quote about writing.

  4. So glad the concert went ahead (despite poor weather?) and you got to experience all these small moments....

  5. @Lucy - I'm all about the small moments this week, aren't I? Getting sentimental in the festive season!

    @mamabook - you won't be disappointed.

    @Thea - it will be Christmas soon - best you write off Boxing Day.

  6. That's so true. So many stories, so little time. And everyone does have a story (some of us have HEAPS of them).
    I loved Kate's first one, this one has been waiting to be read. Maybe over Christmas!

  7. So true. Always good to hear about good books as there are so many books out there to choose from. Charmaine

  8. I look forward to reading this book.
    I enjoyed reading this post very much. X
    Book recommendation for you - 'A Song in the Daylight' Paullina Simons

  9. Another South Coaster.Whoo hoo! Me too.
    The interesting thing is others often don't see the moments that writers do as anything special or worth recording. Sometimes they don't notice them at all.If you read my post for today at Write and Read with Dale
    you will see what I mean.

  10. Sounds like a great read! And the concert. Oh my! How cute was it?

  11. @Belinda - thanks for the recommendation! I haven't read one of hers for a long time. Will give it a whirl.

    @Dale - you may be right. Popping over to check out your link.

  12. I've often thought that waiting for the muse was a bit like waiting for a clean CityRail train. Bit pointless. You've gotta ride the dirty train in you're ever going to get there. x

  13. Oh Im all for riding the Dirty Train...
    But your words make sense to me... I guess its like with most things...just get on and do it and see what comes out of it ...good or bad

  14. Thank you for the eloqunet review.

    I'm looking for a new author to devour and I think I've found her.

    SSG xxx

    Sydney Shop Girl blog

  15. I loved the book too -- and your post.
    I think Dale is right -- a lot of people don't notice the things writers do -- so writers have a special way of 'seeing' as well as describing. And like all things, you get better with practice.
    Have you read Stephen Kings' "On Writing"? It's excellent.

  16. Mmmm I can't wait to read that book! Shamefully, I also can't wait to read the Ben Cousins story, and am also thinking about a return to the glory that is 'Cloudstreet'.
    Lovely words on waiting for the muse as well... xx

  17. Hi Alison,
    I love your blog title! It got me in.I've not read any of Kate Morton but will try The Distant Hours, now. Must agree with you about the Silly Season and the 'we must catch up'! How funny.

  18. A lovely blog by a talented writer. I may just have to read the book so I can write about it for my new film and book review blog! XO

  19. I've added Kate Morton to my list of authors to check out.
    I love kindy concerts.


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