Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"I’ve just read your book . . ."

Candice, a reader from Sydney, writes:

I’ve just read your book, and wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed it. It’s great!

I had read some of the reviews on the internet, and was expecting it to be a tough read since I recall some people had used the word “frustrating” a couple of times to describe it. But I didn’t find it frustrating at all—perhaps because I was expecting it. I knew that it was not going to be a conventional novel, so I approached the book with patience and little expectation of actually enjoying it (sorry!).

But this just freed me to really appreciate all the descriptions you so wonderfully wrote and the journey as presented in each chapter—and what a great journey each chapter was! I actually didn’t want the chapters to end because I enjoyed being a fly on the wall of each experience so much. I particularly liked the way you described light, especially in the chapters about “The Driver” (I saw that dark road so well!) and “The Musician.”

I also liked the way you wove the train motif through the book. Did this represent the way significant events/experiences weave their way into all aspects of life and maybe carry us on a journey (not always of our choosing) to certain destinations? At least, that’s what I got out of it!

As for the ending, it’s very good – and, for me, made even more so because it was all based on a true account (that this was someone’s real life makes it all the more profound!). It also invites me back to read the book again (and I’ve never read a book twice!) to put the pieces together.

I just thought I’d share some of my thoughts with you because, if I’d written a book, I’d want to know what others thought!

Well done, Nathan, on a great story and a good book. Can’t wait for the next one!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Update from "The Open House"

Just an update on Kara Martin's review of Nemesis Train on "The Open House." Her written review has now been posted and can be accessed here.

Reviewed on Faith House website

A project I have supported for the past couple of years and have contributed to from time to time as a writer has posted a review of Nemesis Train

Faith House Manhattan is an exciting interfaith project pioneered by my friend Samir Selmanovic and, while the review is not new to readers of this blog, this is an opportunity to point blog readers back to the Faith House site to check out this project.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Reviewed on The Open House

“This is a very interesting book,” said Kara Martin, regular book reviewer on “The Open House,” a weekly talk show broadcast on Hope 103.2 FM and syndicated on a number of other radio stations around Australia.

Talking with host Sheridan Voysey this past Sunday night, she reviewed Nemesis Train, reporting that she “had no idea what it was about for most of the time I was reading it. But I was intrigued and I wanted to know.

“Only at the end do you find out how it is all connected and why it has been written in the way that it has,” Ms Martin explained. “It’s well enough written that it keeps you intrigued and it keeps you wanting to find out more.

“It’s the sort of book that when you get to the end you want to re-read it because you want to see were there things I missed and how did this all sit together.”

While critical of the design of the book and suggesting the novel might be “a bit too subtle,” she noted the focus on the issue of the ongoing impacts of war on survivors and described Nemesis Train as “a confronting and real look at this [issue] and personifying it in a very special way.

“It’s a really interesting book that introduces some important messages. As well as the suicide issue, it talks about how do we find meaning, how do we make a difference in the world and in people’s lives, so they’re good messages.”

To listen to the broadcast, go to The Open House podcast page. Their discussion of Nemesis Train kicks off at about the 8-minute mark.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Meeting a reader

At a conference in Sydney last weekend, I found myself seated at a meal across from an older, professional couple from northern New South Wales whom I had not previously met. We shared the usual polite conversation—where we lived, what we did, that kind of stuff. But the gentleman earned an extra piece of my attention when he mentioned he had read my novel.

This is perhaps my first encounter with someone I have not previously known who has read the book. Reading is often a slightly different experience when reading something from an author that we know, so I was interested in what different comments might come from a reader whom I had not previously met. We had an interesting chat, including his sharing his favourite scenes from the book and his overall appreciation of his reading experience.

A few years ago, I read an article about the difficulties of writing fiction and being published. One of the comments I recall from that article was that an author can survive not being paid, but cannot survive not being read. Thus, the gratification that comes to a writer when meeting a reader, who shares a little of their reading experience.