I have just finished reading PD James’ The Lighthouse, and without spoiling the plot for potential readers, it involves writers and their writing and the plot was threaded through this to some extent. I remember also reading a crime thriller by Elizabeth George where the murderer was an artist, who murdered her victim as revenge for having a piece of her art destroyed.

This made me reflect on a couple of interesting thoughts.

Firstly would a piece of work you created- novel, painting, sculpture, etc – be so personally meaningful to you that you would commit murder for it? Perhaps that is a test of how good you are? Would you murder someone if they threatened your work? Perhaps literary critics should take more care.

But the second thought was, how often do we really describe a working life in a novel? I know of course that crime writers describe police work, but apart from that – how many novels really take the world of work seriously and make it an integral part of the novel? Surely we should, as for most people, that is where they spend the vast majority of their waking hours – yet sometimes we can read a novel and not believe that the world of work exists.

Oh yes the characters go to work and come back from work and so on, but how often is the workplace actually an integral part of the landscape?

I would be interested to hear of any such novels, apart from, as I said, the crime genre.

(First published October 30th 2007)

And since I wrote this I have discovered, to my great joy, Stephen King. And so of his main characters are writers. Think of Misery, The Shining, IT…. So he is certainly writing about what he knows, but he is also setting his plots in the world of work. 


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