Friday, 25 May 2012

'Maybe the Moon' by Armistead Maupin


It's one of my most-reread books ever. I've lost count of how many times I've reread it. Last weekend I found myself buying a *spare* copy, when I happened upon a first edition hardback - exactly the same as my own - in a shop in Lincoln.

I reread it last in the autumn of last year and this is what I wrote then - about the way it just kind of fell off my shelf of favourite novels, into my hands...


"‘Maybe the Moon’ one of my top five novels of all time – perhaps even my favourite, right at the top of the list. I’ve been goading Stuart into reading it recently – and just going on about it made me start reading it all over again.

There’s just something about the voice of Cadence Roth – the showbiz dwarf whose diaries the book is made up of – something that has stuck with me throughout the 18 years since i first read this book. It’s a funny and defiant voice – sassy and feisty as the cliches would have it. On this re-re-reading i’m remembering how much i love her guest-starring cast, too – her kind but dopey housemate, Renee, who is obsessed with the fantasy movie Cadence Roth starred in ten years before the book begins. I also love her other best mate, Jeff, who treats his one-night stands (and any one else) to extended readings from his memoirs-in-progress.

It’s a good-natured novel – which sounds stupid, but what i mean is that… its heart is absolutely in the right place. It’s a kind of tribute to those who get trampled underfoot in everyone’s race to grab their dreams.

I think I use my favourite books – this one, Anne Tyler’s ‘Saint Maybe’, Susan Cooper’s ‘The Dark is Rising’; Nina Bawden’s ‘Carrie’s War’ – as a kind of highwater tidemark. I return to them because they’re at one level soothing and grounding – it’s like checking in with old friends … but also i like to be reminded of how great they are… they surprise me again, each time, with how easy Maupin and those others can make it seem. This isn’t about flashy writing and ‘look at me’ carrying on from the author – it’s virtuouso storytelling that sets out to entertain and puts the reader first… and it’s good for me to touch base with that sometimes."

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