Thursday, 5 July 2018

LONGSHOT. By Dick Francis

I have not read too many Dick Francis’ novels, but this one made a big impression on me since it involved the world of writing, literature, literary agents…John Kendall is a struggling writer – I have identified with this for years! – and his attempts to survive in this sphere sparked empathy from me. His (early) interactions with his agent piqued me – even if he would learn that his agent even before talking to him, had accepted a position on his behalf before deigning to brief him! Indeed there is a lot of human warmth, great intelligence, fecund interactions amongst people in Francis’ novel.

But always terrifying is the sinister, cruel proclivities of certain individuals (‘villains’) in his works. People one would not necessarily associate sheer, palpable evil with, often turning out to be incredibly malevolent. And so it turns out here too. Late in this work, we flinch with horror as our hero has an arrow embedded in him, with the concomitant excruciating pain that goes with this. 

Yet the tormentor is still bent on tormenting him further, by trying to pull the goddamn arrow out! Excuse me. Even now I shudder trying to imagine the throes of pain. The mystery in this work, as usual, is exceedingly brilliant, complicated yet simple in the end... Yes, Kendall is a struggling writer who has nevertheless managed to publish some "books". His encounter with an established, formidable, revered female writer late on in this work, for me, was worth the price of this book alone !
-          - Henry Ozogula


  1. Well done, man! I always say that we Africans must try to read broadly, 'leastways'

  2. Well done, man! I always say that we Africans must try to read broadly, 'leastways'