Sedition‘s reviews of the week are clipped by Virago and arrive on a Saturday, neatly packaged up. The envelope is pleasingly fat, and with due terror I sit down to read. Don’t be alarmed! This is no gush. The reviews are online. Not online are the reactions of friends and relations, and reaction has been violent.
My father (92) read Sedition, was outraged, and retired to bed with shingles. An elderly acquaintance, seeing the book features girls, sniffed, and, being that sort of chap, closed it with a snap. What creatures some men are. Not all men, of course. Some of Sedition‘s biggest fans are men. The book occasionally makes them wince, much as it makes the fathers of my Sedition girls wince, but, so my male friends tell me, wince in a good way, except for the bit when … (ah! you’ll have to read the book to discover more).
The surprise of friends, not that I could write a book but that I could write SUCH a book, is divided between alarm and delight. The delight of friends is matched only by my own delight in their delight. To the alarmed, I’ve taken to quoting the words of the Guardian, that Sedition was not written to ‘console or instruct, but to unsettle and to excite’.
Perhaps that’s where the real division lies. Those looking for consolation or instruction have found Sedition a strong tipple – for some, too strong. Those up for disturbance and excitement have been disturbed and excited enough to ring or email and tell me so. So far, nobody has had no reaction which actually, despite leaving me in a heap of one kind or another, is most pleasing of all.