Rebecca's Reviews > The Executor

The Executor by Blake Morrison
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really liked it
bookshelves: writers-and-writing, poetry, newbury-library

This gently suspenseful novel is about a books editor for a London newspaper who’s asked to be the literary executor for a poet friend who then dies suddenly. Matt, the editor/executor narrator, struggles to balance work and family life (a wife and three kids), especially as he makes weekly visits to Robert Pope’s widow to spend time organizing archival documents and looking for previously unpublished work. The crisis comes when he discovers a whole cache of new poems, many of them sexually explicit and likely to embarrass his widow for their suggestion that Pope had many relationships outside of marriage. But is it a mistake to assume they are autobiographical, even when they use the first person? This is a clever treatment of art versus life and the creative legacy. Morrison’s writing reminded me of John Burnside’s in Ashland & Vine and Sarah Moss’s in The Tidal Zone. He also ably voices Pope’s poems, including an appended set of 26. After reading this and And When Did You Last See Your Father? earlier in the year, I’d be willing to try Morrison’s work in any genre.

Favorite lines:

“if a glance at the dust jacket, or rapid sampling of the first page, suggests it’s not a book worth bothering with, you put it in the reject pile without even a twinge of conscience.”

Matt’s wife Marie: “Cryonic suspension, poetic immortality: they’re a fantasy. People die. And the stuff they do in life dies too.”

“I hadn’t known the confessional Rob of the poems. That Rob was a new person. So was Rob the gardener, Rob the dog owner, Rob the almost-parent, Rob the settled suburbanite. The old Rob was fading. I now had several of him in my head.”
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Reading Progress

May 7, 2018 – Started Reading
May 7, 2018 – Shelved
May 8, 2018 – Shelved as: writers-and-writing
May 8, 2018 – Shelved as: poetry
May 8, 2018 – Shelved as: newbury-library
May 13, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Jaidee (new) - added it

Jaidee This sounds good...I am adding...thanks Rebecca for the review !!

Rebecca Jaidee wrote: "This sounds good...I am adding...thanks Rebecca for the review !!"

Yeah, it felt like a good discovery -- a book that risks not getting much attention but is well worth reading.

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