This morning, as drifting powder snow made Wells a winter wonderland I found two emails waiting for me.
The first was from D. O. Dodd, the author of the novel "Jew" which I reviewed yesterday. Here is what he had to say, together with my reply.
Thank you for the highly perceptive review of my novel, JEW. It was encouraging to read a review with writing of such high calibre.
-D.O. Dodd "
I replied as follows.
"Yes. I was very surprised by the low quality of the reviews on Amazon. Seems like most of them hadn't actually read the book carefully, let alone engaged with it. None of them appeared to approach understanding.
It's quite dispiriting when you have spent months applying all your thinking and intelligence into a creative work only to have it received with indifference and intellectual shoddiness. What you're doing here is what writers ought to do: engage with universal issues, challenge received shibboleths and do so with art.
I hope your novel gets the wider audience it deserves and has the impact you intended. If so, it's bound to be controversial so I wish you strength with that. "
Moving from writing about atrocities to the real thing. Clare makes a small financial contribution to a Catholic Creche in Brazil run by a Father Murphy (in the tradition of Irish missionary priests). Here is what he wrote in his email this morning.
"Hello Creche sponsors,
Carlos Andre Pereira Barros and his brother Carlos Alexandre were both reared at the Creche beginning around 1981, both leaving in the mid-nineties. Carlos Alexandre has a daughter, Carla in the Creche while he lives by selling fruit or flannel towels at the busy road intersections around here.
Carlos Andre had a job with a nearby big car agency, Fiori, which deals in Fiats until last Friday when he was dismissed and paid-off with a lump sum. He had been living with his mother till about a fortnight ago when he decided to rent a place for himself and a male companion on the far outskirts of Reciffe.
That night his place was broken into and he was cruelly killed: his eyes were gouged out and they put one in the sink, the other in the toilet bowl. Only three days later was his disappearance discovered when his companion returned from a visit to the hinterland to his family.
Perhaps his sexual orientation contributed to his being so cruelly killed. May his soul rest in peace.
Frank Murphy (Fr)"