Gransnet forums


Gran-lit. At last!

(34 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 12-Dec-12 22:01:56

Our latest guest blog post is from author Hilary Boyd - whose recent novel Thursdays in the Park has been hailed as the start of a new literary phenomenon...gran-lit.

Books featuring grandmothers have tended to portray them as peripheral characters, trouble makers or babysitters... But, argues Hilary, isn't it about time the literary world woke up to the fact that grans don't have to be old, celibate (etc etc...) and stuck on the sidelines?

Do add your views to this thread.

Anne58 Wed 12-Dec-12 23:21:37

Why grans? Surely it's about age and the perceptions of it, not just the fact that your children have had children? There are lots of women of a "certain age" that don't happen to be grandmothers.

Ana Wed 12-Dec-12 23:28:36

What's more, we've already discussed the book here

JessM Thu 13-Dec-12 06:43:17

"small kids having a lot of sex" shock
I'm sure that's not what she meant.
Oh dear. How did that phrase survive her editing.
A sobering reminder for those of us who write - if you haven't got a proof reader to hand, then check, check, double check. And then find a friend to read it through.[there but for the grace of god emoticon]

Barrow Thu 13-Dec-12 09:26:53

I don't agree with putting books in "boxes" If a book is good it is good - it doesn't have to be gran-lit, chick-lit or whatever.

I read everything autobiographies, science fiction, thrillers, classic books, true crime etc. etc.

annodomini Thu 13-Dec-12 09:37:45

I found 'How it All Began', by Penelope Lively far more convincing, though in no way would I call it granny-lit. The main character was elderly, but her story is intertwined with the stories of the other characters, just as our own lives are intertwined with those of our families and friends.

Nelliemoser Thu 13-Dec-12 09:51:44

Are we "Grans" not supposed to be reading the Family Wartime Sagas set in the East End of London or Liverpool, and churned out in the sort of formulaic style of Mills and Boon? These seem to inhabit the shelves of my library and more worrying are the only sort of stuff in large print. God forbid that is all I can get if I need large print.

You can usually tell chick lit by the style of the cover illustrations. I am afraid judging books by cover is what the publishers seem to go for.

I really dont like the idea of Books clearly aimed at different markets. I like to peep between the covers and have a test read.

janeainsworth Thu 13-Dec-12 10:24:57

My favourite is 'Quartet in Autumn' by Barbara Pym.
Written in 1977 about four colleagues who have just retired, funny, subtle, observant and readable at any age.

Lilygran Thu 13-Dec-12 11:04:02

Everything by Pym. And Muriel Spark, too. Grown-up novels.

annemac101 Thu 13-Dec-12 21:46:51

I loved this book it was such an easy read and I liked the portrayal of an older woman actually having a life.

Nelliemoser Thu 13-Dec-12 21:56:27

janeA LilyGran I too love Barbara Pym. She's funny and quite sad at the same time. I recently re-read some of her novels. She's not well enough known by far.

janeainsworth Fri 14-Dec-12 10:22:48

nellie I fell in love with Barbara Pym in about 1988 - I came home from taking the children to school, put the radio on and there was Joanna David (she of the beautiful voice) reading A Glass of Blessings and that was it!
I love her books, and as you say she reflects life by combining humour and pathos.

Rion Fri 14-Dec-12 10:50:26

I agree with the writer who does not think books should be put into set categories. I am not famous but I love writing saga novels moving through generations. I have had 22 published and older characters still make love and face temptations. Anyone with an Ereader can download a free sample at the link below.
Part Two of an historical romance saga set in the Scottish Borders between the two World Wars.

Ross and Rachel Maxwell take up life at the Glens of Lochandee, where they must strive to build up the farm, raise a family, and rear their animals despite uncertainty of their tenure, the social instability of the years between the two World Wars and the heartbreak of tragic loss. Their love of the land and each other gives them strength and determination to face these challenges.

A Maxwell Mourned is the second part of The Laird of Lochandee which won the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy presented by the RNA in 2000.

Review From Shelley Mosley Booklist (for whole book)
Set against a background of world events during the thirties and forties Kirkwood's tale of an unlucky Scottish couple will interest fans of soap operas, mini-series and saga's such as Collen McCullough's The Thorn Birds

One of my favourite authors is Marcia Willett. She also has both young and older lovers.

gracesmum Fri 14-Dec-12 12:36:22

Could this possibly be advertising? (Perish the thought)
Only thing is it doesn't actually make me want to read the books! grinAnd a reviewer whio can't get their apostrophes right......Oh dear sad

Troy Fri 14-Dec-12 12:51:52

There is no reason why older people should not write good novels, autobiographies and even poetry if they still have the mental energy. I would like to hear of more over 80's who have achieved this so far, being one of them myself (see profile). Prejudice against older writers is similar to dying one's hair as a TV anchorwoman!

Nelliemoser Fri 14-Dec-12 13:25:53

annemac Sorry but which book do you mean?

I will add "Miss Pettigrew lives for a day" by Winifred Watson. Now also a film, to my list of favourites.

Rion Fri 14-Dec-12 17:26:24

I am sorry if some of you think the details regarding one of my books was advertising. I would not have mentioned it here if it had been for sale but it is a free download so I am not selling anything. Also I think amidst the fiction I include a lot of facts about farming and country life and many older readers seem to enjoy reminiscing when memores are awakened. However I shall stick to gardening and cookery blogs on Gransnet in future.

gracesmum Fri 14-Dec-12 17:47:35

Don't like being perceived as an "older reader reminiscing when memories awakened" !!gringrin Where's me bath chair, me dear!

JessM Fri 14-Dec-12 18:27:11

Mind you gracesmum I was sitting next to a couple in the cafe the other day and they were obviously in that early stage in a relationship... And I had a moment of reminiscence.

Ariadne Fri 14-Dec-12 18:49:04

Rion do you not think you need to be able to use language properly if you are writer? I refer to apostrophes, though I note the misuse is that of the person from whom you quote.

I do still quite like Marcia Willett and used to love Elizabeth Goudge when I was about 12, and their use of English is/was immaculate. Even if, I have to admit, their work is somewhat trite, soppy and reactionary in content!

jO5 Fri 14-Dec-12 19:06:32

I am going to download a free sample of A Maxwell Maligned, which is the first in the series. You can usually tell within the first few lines if a book is going to be worth reading. Hopefully this one will be.

I seem to remember Thursdays in the Park didn't come off too well in the thread I started a week or three ago.

I often drift into reminiscing when memories are awakened. And why not? smile

jabanj1057 Tue 18-Dec-12 15:11:32

Flippin-eck! not much "Christmas Spirit" around this forum.
I believe Hilary Boyd has got her facts absolutely correct. There is much more of a trend toward novels that appeal mainly to the twenty, thirty, fourty age group. It would be fabulous to come across work that people from fifty-plus could relate to. Life as we are all aware, hits us in stages, where some subjects are much more relevent than when we were younger. You could hardly write about a story, for instance, of a woman or man looking back over their lives, with regret or confusion or bitterness, if you were twenty-one! There is indeed a hole to be filled. I will read "Thursdays in the Park" and get back to you. Have a wonderful christmas. I intend to let my fabulous grandson run me ragged!

merlotgran Tue 18-Dec-12 15:17:00

I love Marcia Willett's books as well.

Mamie Tue 18-Dec-12 15:24:18

I think we put quite a lot of time and effort into discussing the book on the original thread. I did quite enjoy it, but I don't think it is worthy of this much hype.
I remain to be convinced that there is a gap in the market to be filled by Gran-lit. If a book is well written and has something new to say then fine, but I think there is plenty of good literature out there about older women already; the idea that we need a special genre seems perhaps a tad patronising?

jabanj1057 Tue 18-Dec-12 22:28:07

Absolutely there is "plenty of good literature out there" Simply saying, not that covers subjects that would be of real relevance to women or men over fifty plus. Please share if you know of work that would be of interest! Of course there does not need to be "a special genre" that would surely defy the intention to be catered for, without any pointers that cajole toward an obvious route. Pure choice should be available. At present its very thin on the ground!