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The Brave, by Nicholas Evans

(25 Posts)
GeraldineGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 20-Sep-11 12:32:56

Questions please for our Nicholas Evans Q&A by the end of the month. The author of September's book club pick, The Brave, was catapulted to fame and fortune with his first novel, The Horse Whisperer. He'll be talking about The Brave, his recent brush with death and his writing career, plus whatever else we want to ask...

MagsF Tue 20-Sep-11 12:46:26

Hi Nicholas, I love all of your books. Thank you for writing them smile The Brave had me hooked from the first pages; the mother and son scene was described so tenderly and with such detail. I would love to know where you get the inspiration/ideas for your novels and how long you spend researching before beginning to write? Thank you x

goldengirl Wed 28-Sep-11 15:37:56

There's a lot of sadness and tragedy in this book. It seems to perpetuate from Tom to his son - Tom bears dreadful weights both from his childhood and on behalf of his son. (1) How did you come to write about such deeply emotional experiences? At the end Lois senses Tom's experiences have not been expunged and it left a cold feeling in my heart - (2) was this intentional?
An uncomfortable book. A real page turner, but I was nervous of turning the pages!

gma Thu 29-Sep-11 18:25:29

Thank you gransnet for the copy of The Brave which I received this morning. I am so looking forward to reading it, but first have to finish 'Edith Cavell' by Diane Souhami. This is a fascinating read, full of detail which I had never read before. If you like a true story about a strong and determined woman try this. The trouble is that we all know that it will end in sadness.

MaggieP Fri 30-Sep-11 13:01:27

Lovely surprise to receive a copy of The Brave , this morning, thank you very much Gransnet. I look forward to reading it and so glad to see that Nicholas has recovered from such a dreadful time health wise.

Libradi Fri 30-Sep-11 16:33:51

Received my copy of The Brave this morning too, thank you Gransnet.

Gilly70 Fri 30-Sep-11 22:25:30

Thank you Gransnet, for my copy of 'The Brave' received recently. I have started to read already and so far have found it a well written, if sad, story.

Carol Mon 03-Oct-11 14:12:16

Thanks for my free copy of 'The Brave' which I am half way through. It's a unique story and proving to be unputdownable.

Carol Wed 05-Oct-11 14:32:50

Well....I have just finished reading 'The Brave' and occasionally found myself getting anxious about what else was going to be disclosed. So many challenges to make me judge the characters, followed by explanations that softened my view. Very skilled writing. I am going to obtain the rest of Nicholas Evans' books now.

iona Fri 14-Oct-11 07:32:58

I loved this book. At first it was confusing in the way it jumped about. I decided to treat it as short stories in each chapter and then really got into it. The wanting to know what happened in each thread really kept me going and not putting it down. Was this a deliberate intent to keep readers guessing?

granstheword Fri 14-Oct-11 16:33:36

I was rather disappointed in this book as it jumped around, sometimes making it hard to follow each story line. The character of Tommy/Tom only hinted at 'a past' and there were great chunks of his life unexplored, like how did he earn a living? Why did he not feel the need to exonerate Diane when he reached adulthood? This could have been a interesting part of the story. In this country if someone divulges a murder during therapy it would be considered appropriate to have 'a conversation' about revealing this. No child would ever have been convicted retrospectivly, or at the time. Diane died for no reason really. her doing so only compounded his neuroses. There was plenty of evidence available to back up his story. The father / son relationship was in danger of being sentimental above all, and it all tied up too well in the end; both of them were guilty, and that was all right.

mumsie Fri 14-Oct-11 23:01:36

Hi thank youfor the book i have enjoyed reading this but found the jumping in time a little disorientating at times.
I have been interested to now look out for other books by nicholas,

Gilly70 Fri 21-Oct-11 14:42:06

Thank you so much for this book. Have finished reading it and have passed onto a friend. I did enjoy it, I did find the changing times a little bit off- putting at first, but soon got used to the style of writing, it did not spoil the storyline for me. I am now reading 'The Loop' another of Nicholas's books.

ouimerci Thu 27-Oct-11 11:44:33

I enjoyed the book very much, and thanks to Gransnet for organising! I was particularly fascinated by the way the American fantasies of cowboys and Hollywood proved to be so flawed and I wondered if it was your intention to write a parable about the American dream - if you think America's sense of itself causes trouble?

notpastit Thu 27-Oct-11 11:48:54

I enjoyed the book too but I didn't really understand why the British government didn't get involved in Diane's case, given that she had a child and wasn't exactly invisible. Did you research this? - It kind of spoilt the book for me because I kept thinking a British citizen wouldn't have been executed without a massive fuss and it would have been very difficult for Tom to keep his identity secret in the wake of this.

distaffgran Thu 27-Oct-11 11:51:58

Dear Nicholas, I have enjoyed all your books. I wondered how your own experience of coming close to death affected the writing of this book? Did it make it darker? Did you find it harder to write having had such a tough time yourself? There seems to be a great deal of sorrow in the book. Loved it though!

firenze Thu 27-Oct-11 16:28:00

I very much liked the way you constructed the book, with all the layers building towards a climax, so for some of the book the reader didn't know how the pieces fitted together. I wondered how you went about that - if you have to plan it all out in your head beforehand? Presumably with a book that works a bit like a puzzle, you can't just start writing and see where the fancy takes you?

Ovaltine Thu 27-Oct-11 16:40:54

I felt the Brave was very much a book about the influence of the past on the present and that it had overtones of psychoanalysis - for example, Tommy's bedwetting, which he doesn't know the reason for but which becomes explicable when he finds out that his mother isn't his mother. And Danny rejects his father, again for reasons that seem to have a deep-seated psychological explanation, more subconscious than rational. So I had two questions really: 1, have you had psychoanalysis or therapy? and 2, do you think it's possible to write a novel these days without a nod to psychoanalysis? Do all modern novels have to take notice of the way psychoanalysis has taught us to think about character development?

flopsybunny Thu 27-Oct-11 16:43:07

I read here on Gransnet that you almost died after eating poison mushrooms. How did that happen? Did you pick them yourself or did someone give them to you?

(I hope you are feeling better now, by the way)

blanketyblank Thu 27-Oct-11 16:46:47

I assume you called the book The Brave partly because you wanted to make us think abou what bravery means. In the book, I suppose it's being honest and facing up to what you've done - which is very difficult to do. I wondered if that is what bravery means to you, or if you would have a different definition?

opalfruit Thu 27-Oct-11 17:05:31

You seem quite antagonistic towards Hollywood in The Brave. Do you think yourself that it peddles a false view of life? You have obviously had some dealings with Hollywood, including a fantastically successful film of The Horse Whisperer. Did your disillusionment come from this?

cheeriblegran Thu 27-Oct-11 17:09:00

The opening of the book is very dramatic, but also very shocking and distressing. I was very nearly put off by such an extreme scene (but I accept I may be of a delicate disposition!) I wondered why you decided to start with this scene? Would it have been difficult to put it in later, or was it simply about grabbing the reader's attention?

sneetch Fri 28-Oct-11 11:32:53

I read somewhere that you had a kidney transplant. Was it difficult getting a donor? I have a niece who has been waiting for a transplant for months and it is proving very difficult. I do hope the operation has been a success.

ladybug Fri 28-Oct-11 11:35:25

I was interested that you introduced the subject of Iraq into the book. Is that because you think the swashbuckling image of the cowboy is related in some way to the intervention in Iraq?

cocktailstick Fri 28-Oct-11 13:48:52

I enjoyed the book very much and I was pleased to be pointed in its direction. I particularly liked the references in Tommy's early life, which brought back a lot of memories of my own! I wondered if you loved cowboy programmes yourself when you were a child? Is that what drew you to the story of the Blackfeet? Was it difficult to research the native American history? Is the research something you enjoy? Do you have to do a lot of research before you get started, or are you able just to start writing off the top of your head.

(Sorry, that's rather a lot of questions, but I'm fascinated by the process!)