Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard

I spotted this book on display in my local library (Ilford) and thought it looked good, and how right I proved to be. I read it in about a day. I could identify with much of it, and it was well-written.

To begin with, I liked the cover - picture of an island, and the title intrigued me.

And I liked the opening sentence:

"I talk to the island. I don't speak, but my thoughts are directed towards it. Sometimes it replies. Never in words of course."

And so I read on.

The story is about a lady who decides to go and live on an island. Now, this was no ordinary lady. She is a creative person, and it became important for her to go on the island to try to make sense of herself and her life.

The story starts to unfold. She has mental stability problems and has to take medication for it. But why? Well, read on and find out.

The book was published with Transita, Oxford, 2005 (but unfortunately they are no longer in business). But the book is still available as a Kindle.

A book that I would recommend.


  1. I'm really pleased to see you enjoyed EMOTIONAL GEOLOGY. I'm the author and Google Alerts brought me to your blog. But I'm horrified to see that your review gives away every single piece of plot! Everything that I worked so hard to make a surprise is blown in your blog post. No one actually needs to read the book after reading this!

    I'm sure you didn't mean to spoil the book for other readers, especially as you enjoyed it so much. Could you possibly re-think your review and edit it? A review shouldn't give away any plot, let alone all of it. I'm sure when you read the book some of the things you mentioned above came as a big shock to you. They are meant to come as a surprise to *all* readers.

    Authors spend sleepless nights and many months trying to come up with plots that have good twists and surprises, things that keep you turning the pages. It really isn't fair to reveal all that in a blog post.

    If you don't want to re-write, could you at least post SPOILER ALERT at the top of your review?

    Thank you.

  2. PS The paperback has long been out of print (it was published in 2005) so I don't think your readers will be able to get hold of pb copies but it's available on Kindle.

  3. As you seemed so distressed, I have changed it. I did consider taking it down, but that raises freedom of expression issues. Well, your comment in itself raises that issue anyway.

    However, these are not reviews; they are annotated bibliographies. And people don’t have to read them, or indeed my blog in general, any more than they have to find out the football scores of a match, if they want to watch it, and be surprised. In addition, there is loads out there on the Internet outlining the intricacies of various plots.

    And surely your writing is more than just the plot? For me, I really liked the overall atmosphere that you created.

    Bear in mind also, that the plots of the greatest novels are extremely well-known – e.g. ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’.

    Incidentally, the plot in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is sometimes heavily criticised. Zoe Williams talking about Lizzy, for example, says that:

    “…it is a tough call to find a feminist icon in a woman who hates her sex to please her father.”

    Yet, the wonderful, artistic way that Jane Austen writes transcends all of this and is far more powerful than the intricacy of the plots. Her work is about far more than that.

    For further comment, see also my blog about Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’.

  4. I have alerted readers to its availability on Kindle, but I repeat, these are not reviews, and the blogs are not about the marketing and publicising of the books.

  5. My apologies for responding to your blog post as if it's a review. It read like a review and it appeared to be about sharing the book with readers. I'm not quite sure why you think it *isn't* a review, especially as there are qualitative judgements like "thought it looked good, and how right I proved to be" and "A book that I would recommend".

    As you were informing readers about the book I assumed they'd be frustrated if they looked for a book that has been out of print for years which is why I told you about the Kindle edition.

    All the books you mention are classics. It would be difficult to keep plots secret for 50+ years! As far as spoilers are concerned, most readers and all authors don't like them. I've spent many years making sure I don't give away the devastating ending to my favourite modern novel, COLD MOUNTAIN, though I recommend it all the time.

    When I got to the end of that novel, I threw it across the room and cried with frustration. If you read that book knowing in advance how it will end, it's a different book. In my opinion, every reader should come to the end of that magnificent book innocent of what lies in store.

  6. Many of my write-ups do not have full bib details at all (e.g. publisher, date of publication, price, ISBN), so they can’t be, and aren’t, reviews.

    It is about self-expression (freedom of expression as I said in my previous comment). Many enjoy my writing, so I put it out on the net, so this is the way that I am sharing. I am not sharing in the way that you suggest.

    ‘Most readers’ and ‘all authors’, you claim! This is such an absurd statement that it doesn’t really warrant a response. Still, I will give one. How on earth do you know? Have you sent out questionnaires to all authors and readers or something? If so, how exactly, did you conduct your research, what research design strategy and methods did you use, and what were the main statistical findings? And when was all this undertaken? And what geographical area(s) are you referring to? Readers and authors in England, or in the UK, or in Europe, or worldwide, or what? Need I say more?

    I borrowed your book from my local library (as I also said on my blog), so I am sure that it must be available in some other public libraries. If I am doing anything in this way (re promotion, which I am not really), then I am hoping to encourage public library usage as much, if not more than, the purchasing of books. I have written loads in the past, about trying to preserve and safeguard our public library service.

    The plots of many novels that are not traditional classics, and that have been published far more recently, have their plots splattered across the Internet. ‘A Game of Thrones’ (first novel in ‘A Song of Ice and Fire Series) by George Martin, also referred to in my Tolkien blog, is one such example. There is tons out there on the net regarding the intricacies of the plot of this epic fantasy – see, in particular, Wikipedia It has also been on TV and is now available on DVD. And the author is still very much alive and is still writing the books and continuing the fantasy. And George Martin is extremely successful.

    Why are you so protective of your plots? Do you not think that your novels are worth more than just the plots?

    Finally, are you not pleased and flattered that I put Tolkien’s ‘The Two Towers’ to one side for your book (again, see my Tolkien blog)? Why do you seem to want to lessen the praise that I have given to you as an author? I don’t understand it.