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leyla

The London Train

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Any readers who love the work of Rose Tremain, Hilary Mantel, Anne Tyler or Sue Miller will, I think, really fall for Tessa Hadley as I did. After I wrote the review I read an article she'd written about her interest in social anthropology, and you can really feel that fascination and the way it's honed her perception of everyday detail, behaviour and speech.

 

They changed my use of 'articulacy' to 'articulateness' in the first sentence - anyone know why this would be? I see both are listed as possible nouns in dictionaries but I've always preferred the less clunky-sounding former. Perhaps it's American while the latter is the UK version? Anyhow, never mind, Hadley is an excellent writer.

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/the-london-train-by-tessa-hadley-2189894.html

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They changed my use of 'articulacy' to 'articulateness' in the first sentence - anyone know why this would be? I see both are listed as possible nouns in dictionaries but I've always preferred the less clunky-sounding former.
I think 'articulacy' sounds more correct than 'articulateness'. Maybe they didn't want two words starting with 'a' and ending with 'y' so close together! ;)

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Good thinking Jen, that's actually what someone else suggested as an explanation. I had wondered if, as is occasionally the case with normality (UK) and normalcy (US), there might be differing preferences geographically.

 

I actually liked the flow of acuity and articulacy together, and found articulateness horribly clunky, but it all ends up as fish and chip paper in the end so I don't suppose it matters! But I do love words and find them fascinating, so it's great to hear your input - thanks.

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Sometimes I think editors make changes just because they can... if those are the only edits you're getting, s/he must be really keen on your work over all.

 

Tessa Hadley appeals to me for so many reasons. Most of them consist of her being the mother of 3 boys plus 3 stepsons - and still writing worthwhile stuff, in her forties. Slap on the back, you go girl sort of reaction from me. But I think many readers of Hilary Mantel or even Rose Tremain might find her subject matter a little limited. I don't mean to criticise her for having a narrow focus - as long as her lens is clear - but I'd like to see something a bit more ambitious from Hadley before comparing her to those very ambitious writers. Maybe not another Wolf Hall, though. One of those is enough ;)

 

ETA I do however think that having serious writers engage with domestic fiction is important!

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Thanks Kim.

I know what you mean about Hadley's focus being narrow - that's what I meant by her being admired for her brush strokes if not always the bigger picture (as I'm sure you'll know.) I actually don't mind the absence of much plot, concentration on the everyday or a narrow range of settings/time periods/etc if someone's writing really appeals to me and if they can make the ordinary extraordinary with their prose, but I know some people prefer more adventurousness from a novelist.

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