Today I received the first UK reviews of Annabel, and they surprised me because they were so blunt, so far from my idea of the realm of subtlety - I hadn't expected that. They were wonderful, positive reviews - yet they struck me as having a preoccupation with singular meaning and a strong thrust - which is the opposite of how I see Annabel's layering of ambiguity. Sometimes I wonder what coming to the New World as a child did to my mind, and when I read these British reviews of my very Canadian novel I feel grateful that the reviewers loved the story, but I also marvel at how the readers zero in on what I would call the less nuanced aspects of my work: the dramatic sexual episodes and the more extreme aspects of characters' personalities. I wonder how different countries read the same books, and whether the UK reviews I have so far seen are an indication of how British readers will see my story. It's no concern of mine, really, as long as readers get something out of the book, and read it and share it. Some readers weep throughout Annabel, while others call it a curiously detached and even unemotional book: there are vagaries of individual interpretation as well as of cultural perception. This interests me today, day 73 in my year of daily new things. I feel blessed as an author to be able to consider these questions; to have readers in nations whose collective sensibilities appear to vary from each other so evidently; to have readers at all.
I hope you are ready to get more and more reviews of Annabel <3 I love to discover things like The Tao of Pooh and Pooh's Little Book of Feng Shui and I wonder if there was any book or poem or film seen in the same way within continents?