Saturday, August 08, 2009

Sleep Tight!

Not a completely current story but one that I just saw for the first time today:

The BBC has been put in the position of defending its choice of 'scary books' for the long running Radio 4 show Book at Bedtime.

The Radio adaptation of Canadian Barbara Gowdy's novel Helpless was greeted with complaints from a number of listeners that the story had made them feel physically ill.

The Guardian's take on Gowdy's novel - called an 'unnerving psychological thriller' and reviewed, no doubt, by somebody who read it in her office surrounded by reassuring distractions and in full light - makes it seem a poor choice for the single listener tucked up in bed beside the radio with a cup of warm Horlicks under the feeble glimmer of a bedside lamp.
The novel has had a mixed reception in the US and in Gowdy's native Canada, where critics are either discomfited or admire this daring attempt to imbue the psyche of a child abductor with shades of grey. Known for inhabiting the minds of unorthodox protagonists - a herd of elephants and a female necrophiliac have previously starred - Gowdy has further tested limits in her exploration of the vulnerability of a child-stalking kidnapper.
I find at the beginning of my 50's that I am less tolerant of sad or disturbing material read or seen in order to give me a thrill.

The thrill, as they say, is gone.

I used to sleep better than I do now. I've also given up cheese before bed.

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