Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Friday, 19 August 2011

Ambassador to the nasty bits

Orla Guerin, BBC TV war correspondent, an enthusiasm shared with Mrs BB.

A flattering photo. Skeletal Orla, with panda eyes, weighs seven stones (98 lb) and is daughter to one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – take your pick. Her Northern Ireland accent is quite different from the romantic mush uttered south of the border and is, alas, forever associated in Anglo ears with two decades of bombings, impromptu executions and internecine political warfare between extreme Republicans and those who ironically call themselves Loyalists in that troubled province west of the Isle of Man.

We first noticed her in Israel, intent on evolving into a corporeal symbol of that agonised stretch of sand and dissension, forcing us night after night to avoid being blasé about irreconcilables. Abruptly, when on the verge of dying from sheer compassion, she turned up (I think) south of Zimbabwe trying to make sense of Robert Mugabe. Was this a BBC joke, a sort of holiday? Seems the Israelis had kicked her out for over-sympathising with the Palestinians. Can one over-sympathise?

Thereafter floods in Bangladesh, refreshing forays into Afghanistan, disasters in central African states and… I’ve lost count. Presently wearing a flak-jacket she’s reporting the Libyan rebels. Why are we touched? Because she puts herself in harm’s way and has the capacity to lower that unpromising accent into a groan of suppressed rage about man’s inhumanity to man. She couldn’t be less glamorous but then stars don’t need glamour.

GORGON TIMES “I do think you write well, but I think it would be quite hard to place - I'm just not convinced it would catch the eye of the editors of literary lists, which is where I think its market would be.” Anne Williams, agent.


Rouchswalwe said...

The author of The Help, which has been filmed and is screening here now, was turned down 60 times before her book sold.

Orla Guerin ~ I put her name into youtube and immediately recognized her voice, although the picture didn't tell me who she is. These days I'm rereading Fisk with adult eyes.

Lucy said...

Her name seems to describe her so acutely, containing elements of horror and war. I find her quite difficult to watch, for all the reasons you note.

A rather double-edged compliment, that it belongs in the literary lists, but wouldn't catch the requisite eye there. I've no ideas or advice, I'm afraid; writing and publishing seems to be in such a state of change, but you doubtless know that better than I/.

Barrett Bonden said...

RW (zS): The MS is with four or five other agents.

It's OK to say you're put off by OG; see Lucy below.

Lucy: I understand perfectly. War, pestilence and then OG - many find her a step too far. But I'm less impressed by war correspondents who look "flown in" in their nicely laundered chinos, Paul Smith shirts and over-moussed hair, who manufacture their feelings and then fly out. OG never sounds optimistic, implies she'll be employed for ever.

GT. There is a strategy. If no one takes to GT I may go the Amazon route (ie, publish "to order", publicise via Amazon) and then start all over again, with some sort of shaky track record, concentrating on A Stall Recovered (the better book) presently shrinking in the wash during revision. Mind you, Plutarch has yet to cast his eyes over the latter and the shrinking may become endemic.

Rouchswalwe said...

Put off by OG? Mais non! I wish more Americans would know her by sight. Her reporting is the real deal.

"Shrinking in the wash!" I like that and am going to explore the full extent of what that means, thanks to you, BB.