Taking a novel set mainly in Paris on a trip to Edinburgh was not as perverse as it might seem, since its provenance was The Linen Press, a small indie publisher based in that fair city.
It’s sometimes suggested we should buy from publishers like this simply because they are ‘a good thing’ and by doing so we preserve their place in the big bad publishing world, but although this is an attractive proposition, I only buy what I think I will like, regardless of publisher, and in this case was persuaded by Sally Zigmond’s positive reviews of every single title from Linen.
It took only a bit of dithering to settle on The Missing by Juliet Bates, “a dream-like novel is about loss, the unreliability of memory and the stories we invent about ourselves”.
I won’t provide a new review since Sally’s is so comprehensive and illuminating and will only add that after some initial resistance to the fact that so much literary fiction deals with depression and loss (this is February, please someone lighten up!) I found it totally absorbing. I also think that it was the right choice of holiday reading (not always an easy thing to pull off). Perhaps its overall greyness matched my northern destination.
I also took on board that ordering from Amazon does little to help the small publisher, and placed my order direct. This cost me £10 and checking on amazon.co.uk I find they are charging £9. I’m happy to give up that £1 to the author and publisher of a beautifully written and constructed book.