Still, I always try hard to make my fiction readable. I'm not one of those who subscribes to the notion that something has to be obscure and experimental to be genuinely literary. I'd rather the reader could both enjoy the book as a book - but perhaps take something away afterwards. In this case, people have told me that it has made them think a bit about betrayal and forgiveness and how they themselves feel about past troubles. But it has also made people consider medicine and surgery, about how we got where we are today, about the price of knowledge and the getting of wisdom. All of which makes me happy. But it wouldn't make me happy if that came at the price of a book that many people didn't also enjoy reading as a story.
It won't suit everyone. No book ever does. One woman's enthralling read can be another's misery. It's a problem for writers only in that we do want to be liked! We spend so long on a novel, living with the characters, that it begins to feel like a much loved child and we feel hurt when somebody tells us that in their considered opinion, this particular offspring has an ugly face and an unlikable personality!
Anyway, if you're reading this on Thursday 15th May, there's still time to get a cheap download and give The Physic Garden a try.