We can all sleep a little easier, apparently the tyranny of ‘mommy porn’ has ended. No more 50 Shades of Grey or any of its numerous imitators. Now it is time for funny. Or at least that was what we were being convinced today at the Edinburgh Book Festival. I had the pleasure of witnessing a lighthearted and enlightening discussion with Gill Hornby and Deborah Moggach. Both are authors of social comedies and very funny ladies.
Gill Hornby was there discussing her first novel, The Hive, which I plan to review in early September. As her name suggests, she is the sister of famed literary humorist Nick Hornby. In her novel she explores the social cliques women and girls tend to form. She argues that this does not end in high school, and may even become more vicious on the playgrounds of primary schools as mothers drop their children off for the day. Reading from The Hive, Hornby illustrated her argument to the chuckles of the audience. Since this is the social milieu that I now inhabit I found Hornby’s observations hilarious and true. Even as adults there is a pecking order on the school ground and heaven forbid you step out of your allotted spot!
Deborah Moggach is a well known author and screenplay writer. The making of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel may have sprung her work into the spotlight, but she has commanded a loyal following, especially in the UK, for years. Like Hornby, she had me in stitches during the discussion. Humorous off the cuff comments peppered her observations as one who has worked as a writer for a good long time and who has very particular views on aging and growing ‘more mature’.
Although Moggach talked a fair bit of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, she also gave us the pleasure of reading from her latest novel, Heartbreak Hotel. This novel brings back Buffy, a character that would not leave her mind after she was finished writing The Ex-Wives. As a serial ex-husband, Buffy opens a hotel in Wales and offers ‘Courses in Divorces’, which draw on his ample experience. Not surprisingly, the BBC has picked up the novel for serialization and I believe is in pre-production.