Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Alan Gibbons, An Act of Love. Terrorism and warfare for teenagers...

I spoke to Liverpool's Alan Gibbons today. Full of energy, full of ideas, he is the author of umpteen novels for young adults, written over the last 18 plus years.
His latest is An Act of Love.
It's a cracking thriller. Breathless action. First person/third person narrative. A heart in your mouth, will they die, will they survive? kind of a read...
The book centres on two boys, grown into men. Best friends since childhood one is now a soldier who has lost his leg to an IED in Afghanistan. The other is a British Muslim with terrorist sympathies.
Gibbons is getting rave reviews for the book - and why not. He's that unusual thing, a novelist for younger people that boys will find compelling and attractive to read. He told me he considers the book literary, but that he used thriller methods. I wonder why he needed to say that: I guess he felt that he wants to be clear that while entertaining, and readable, that he had a serious intent to the book.
This irritates me. there's an assumption by some writers, even when they employ the techniques, that writing to engage and entertain their readers has to be couched somehow in a greater purpose.
They should relax. Play to the audience. This is where great art is.

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