I have long been a fan of Louise Welsh and her slightly offbeat tales – always intriguing, striding across genres and never less than enthralling and entertaining.
It is, of course, all to do with the writing – economical, concise, never a wasted word and yet having maximum impact.
But she really excels in the latest of her books to appear on my reading list.
A Lovely Way to Burn should be required reading by all those “writers” who are flooding the internet with books that they churn out, in many cases, at monthly intervals.
True, they write; in the sense that they use words to form sentences. And, using the narrowest possible meaning of the word, I suppose they are authors, which most of them also claim to be.
The reality, however, is that they are production line purveyors of words thrown on to a page for consumption by readers to whom a well-crafted sentence is as foreign as a yeti to a Saharan tribesman.
Louise Welsh, on the other hand, truly is a writer. She takes time to author her work. She revises, polishes and undergoes the editing process.
If only those who populate the web’s plethora of writer sites would do likewise.
A good starting point would be to read the prologue to A Lovely Way To Burn. Here, in three sparse pages and perhaps not much than five hundred words, Walsh spins the threads of three diverse stories. It is taut, concise writing with almost parsimonious use of words. Yet it is full of colourful detail that informs, seduces and entices the reader into wanting to know more; much more.
Better by far than the excessive wordiness of so much that now passes for “writing” but which is nothing more than the regurgitation of a thesaurus in an attempt to impress.
Read Welsh and learn.