Marianne's Reviews > After She Wrote Him

After She Wrote Him by Sulari Gentill
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it was amazing

After She Wrote Him (also titled Crossing The Lines) is a stand-alone novel by award-winning Australian author, Sulari Gentill. Madeleine d’Leon is a crime writer whose very successful cosy Veronica Killwilly series might even go to TV. But she is suddenly inspired to write something quite different: Edward McGinnity is a character who has popped into her head and she just has to write him. She’s tickled because he’s an author, the serious type of writer who would never read her genre, giving it an especially delicious irony.

Edward McGinnity writes literary fiction and is quite surprised when his muse sends him a crime writer as his next protagonist. And yet, he’s so enthusiastic to write about Madeleine d’Leon (crime writers are an interesting breed), he is even thinking about her as he attends the gallery opening for his beautiful friend, Willow Meriwether. The presence of published critic (and his one-time editor) Geoffrey Vogel at the show is not appreciated, but Edward is thoroughly shocked when Vogel is murdered, right there, at the gallery.

And there we are: as suspicions fall, first on Willow, then on Edward, it seems he may have some crime solving to do; meanwhile, all is not idyllic in Madeleine’s marriage, making her life just the intriguing sort of study that populates Edward’s novels.

As the two narratives smoothly mesh or dovetail neatly with each other, there is almost a sensation of looking into mirrors facing each other or, perhaps a more accurate representation is the MC Escher sketch of hands drawing each other. There are delightful little scenes where Madeleine is explaining to her husband what is happening to Edward, while Edward is explaining to Willow what is happening to Madeleine.

But then the waters begin to muddy: they begin appearing in one another’s stories, talking to each other, drawn to spend more time with each other. “How seductive the existential strain between writer and character —almost erotic. Edward was charged with the liminal intimacy of it. Not only would he know her, she would come to know him. And therein would be the danger and the essence of story.”

Gentill’s protagonists talk about themselves, but also discuss writing in general and the genres they inhabit. Some conclude: “Who knows what’s really going on in our poor beleaguered, broken-down intoxicated brains? I’m not sure it’s a good idea to look too closely into the mechanics of what we do; it might break the spell.”

Gentill’s highly original concept is truly entertaining, but also gives the reader insight into the author’s process: the development of characters and plot, how comments and questions from friend, spouse, colleague, editor and agent can affect the story, and how the characters sometimes surprise and stun with their thoughts, feelings and actions. But the author has ultimate control (don’t they?) Very clever!

This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press.
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Reading Progress

January 13, 2020 – Shelved
January 13, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read
January 16, 2020 – Started Reading
January 17, 2020 –
page 23
8.98%
January 18, 2020 –
page 86
33.59%
January 19, 2020 –
page 197
76.95%
January 19, 2020 –
page 322
100%
January 19, 2020 – Finished Reading

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message 1: by Luvtoread (new) - added it

Luvtoread Wonderful review, Marianne! I am now looking forward to reading this book!!😊


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