Anthony Saunders, an Historian and author of six books has a blog on The Booktrap that he shares with Catherine Landeri, an Editor and English Teacher.
Anthony Saunders left his manuscript/book on Authonomy and the interesting results ~
Many of you will recall that I had a book on Authonomy called The Spectacle that is Jack Coq and his Amazing Anatomie. It reached the desk in June. Here is the review I received yesterday:
‘The Spectacle that is Jack Coq and his Amazing Anatomie’ is a distinctly styled work of fiction. Based on the language, which is flourished and stylised, it appears to be set in Elizabethan England, a land of ‘toves’, ‘mongers’ and ‘mopsies’. Jack Coq is a mysterious hero, unsure of his own past and unexpectedly mute, he erupts on the scene in ludicrous red ‘stitchery’ and, having just escaped the gaol, and is taken in by Henry Pigg Arlequino and his posse of actors. As Jack finds his feet amongst this band of ‘Patriclouses’, more about his eponymous ‘amazing anatomie’ is revealed: decorated blue, hairless, and remarkably well-endowed, he is clearly more than just a town fool.
The riddlesome prose is narrated through Jack who assumes a Shakespearian jester-style role, his wit and satire accompanying the low comedy and moderate pace of the novel (“‘The Duke of Morelands and Gratewelth is come, my lady.’ And so he might.”). The language is peculiar but well-handled; once I got into the rhythm of the prose, it was really very easy to follow.
I have reviewed a good number of manuscripts in my time, but this has by far proven the most challenging. There is really not much fault to be found in the novel. The language is rich and full of wit, sometimes this works better than at other times (‘A man of infinite rest’ as opposed to “overhear over there. It is not over hair”), but overall the standard is reliable and more than makes up for the plot which is, probably necessarily, slow. The comedy is generally juvenile, but befitting of the time and complemented by intelligent wordplay. And, rising above the titillating style, is the mystery of Jack Coq, suspected French infiltrator and fugitive from the law.
I imagine there would be a great deal of fun to be had publishing this novel; I can visualise it in a slick, monochrome paperback format, in the guise of an Elizabethan pamphlet.
However, all this praise aside, ‘The Spectacle that is Jack Coq and his Amazing Anatomie’ is a hugely challenging proposition. Its old-fashioned style, though fun and well-executed, is not classically commercial. You will need to find an editor who has the bravery and zeal to press for publication, followed by a retail buyer willing to get behind a very off-beat novel, before you can hope to see the book in shops. You will also need to be realistic about what sort of commercial success you expect to see. It’s not an impossible feat – look at Paul Kingsworth’s ‘The Wake’, for example. Written in fairly impenetrable Old English and garnering mixed reviews from readers, the book has undoubtedly exceeded commercial expectations.
You are clearly a gifted writer, and I am keen to discuss the novel and your writing further offline.