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Awarded December 2013 for MAKE DO AND MEND by Adam Fitzroy

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Comments about STAGE WHISPERS

My very good friend SLASHWEAVER who, like me, publishes with MANIFOLD PRESS, was kind enough to post on her LiveJournal the following comments about STAGE WHISPERS. For obvious reasons this isn't a formal review, but I must admit that if ever I received a formal review in similar terms I would feel that the eleven months of my life I spent writing the book had not been completely wasted!

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I have recently been reading the novel Stage Whispers, and loving it. It's a great long detailed read, considering a relationship as it evolves over the years - as the individuals in it change, and the world changes around them as well. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to read an intelligent love story set in the theatrical world.

I should add a caveat or two here, though! Stage Whispers was published by Manifold Press, who have also published two of my own titles. So it's clear I have a vested interest in their success, and in Adam's as well! However, I'm not the sort of person who says things I don't mean, and they're not the sort of people who'd expect me to, so I thought I'd offer this post anyway, and let you make of it what you will.

My other caveat is that this isn't intended as a 'proper' review, and it is completely spoilery.

Stage Whispers was absolutely great. A lovely long detailed look at a relationship that felt very real. The characters felt very genuine. In particular I loved and adored Jon (the point-of-view character), while Callum (his other half) was engaging even when he kept making the most muddle-headed 'wrong' decisions. They were so obviously right for each other, and that's not always easy to convey about a couple.

Meanwhile, their friend Izzy was absolutely marvellous - true and fierce and kind, all at once. A real force - although even she has her weakness and problems, unable to ever quite cope with an overbearing mother. I particularly enjoyed Jon's developing relationship with his young daughter Justine, as well, and the attendant detail as she grows into a person in her own right.

It's the details that are such a strength of the novel, I think - not just subtle details such as how Justine is at different ages, from one year to the next, but also all the detail of the theatrical world they inhabit. I haven't been part of that world myself, but it all felt very real, and it provided a great context for the love story.

And I was so very happy when the love story finally resolved well, though overall I admit I did feel an almost overwhelming sadness. This story could almost serve as a 'textbook case' of why our society should be at least more accepting, and preferably welcoming, of a wider range of loving relationships. No one should have to go through all this, just to be with the someone they love. No one. And yet alas, it is still so. Well, I've already seen such significant changes in my own lifetime thus far - let's hope that continues! And let's hope that a Jon and Callum born 50 years later might simply be together, as they obviously should have been from the start.

So, well done, Adam! Excellent work.

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Thank you, dear friend, that has really cheered me up!

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