Our Crack Tongue & Groove
What fresh hell is this?
Tory MP Nadine Dorries has somehow managed to carve out a second career for herself as a sub-Catherine Cookson novelist. Her latest, Christmas Angels, is out now, just in time to drag the festive market further into the gloom.
Show don’t tell. That’s rule number one in every ‘How To Be A Novelist’ guide. Nadine Dorries isn’t bound by such strictures however, cleverly inverting this maxim to become a Tell-In-Flashing-10ft-High-Letters kind of author (sometimes known as the Dan Brown School). Her first book, The Four Streets, for instance, is divided into salt-of-the-earth Irish/Scousers, who have no money but certainly know which side their boxty bread is buttered on, and “haughty stuck up Protestant bitches” like Alice. Alice is evil and we know that she’s evil because she first pops up in the novel smiling evilly to herself at a funeral. And then we have Father James who doesn’t appear to have any other characteristics beyond also being evil. We know that he is evil because, helpfully, Dorries tells us. Her prose style ranges from the leaden (she manages to imbue a scene of a car ploughing into a bunch of kids with all the pathos of someone reaching for the biscuit barrel only to find it empty) to the berserk (a child watches a strand of hair move around like “an overlarge windscreen wiper”); and her debut novel even had a critic from the Conservative Party house-paper, The Telegraph, opining: “This is the worst novel I’ve read in 10 years.” She may well have topped the awfulness of The Four Streets with Christmas Angels, her latest foray into 1950s poverty porn, and my one word review would probably be familiar as a food stuff to the novel’s many good/evil character types: tripe.