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July book club - Holding by Graham Norton

(71 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 05-Jul-17 16:56:36

All the details about the book right here

If you receive a free copy don't forget to leave your thoughts and questions for Graham here. As he has a particularly heavy schedule at the moment he won't be able to answer all questions but we will pick out ten or so and send them over at the end of the month.

JackyB Wed 02-Aug-17 11:42:41

I'm not a "member" of the GN bookclub, but this book was on offer on Amazon and I downloaded it on to my Kindle and am reading it now. It seems to have everything - jolly good! I await the Q&A with Graham Norton with interest, but I can't think of a question at the moment.

cikada Thu 03-Aug-17 10:26:22

My book arrivedpossibly a bit late for my comment to be on time but I thought it was another great choice of the month. Had not expected Graham Norton's writing to be so spellbinding. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. Thank you so much !!

JackyB Thu 03-Aug-17 12:25:52

It's always difficult to think up a good title for a book, but I would like to ask Graham how he came to the title "Holding".

However, I wasn't one of the ones who got a free copy. Having finished the book just now, I must say, I did enjoy it and had to keep at it till I'd finished, although the ending wasn't quite such a shock to me.

philatel Tue 08-Aug-17 12:42:29

Loved this book - characters so well drawn and it was so easy to read and understand.

Grannyknot Sat 12-Aug-17 09:01:26

I didn't receive a copy via GN so, miffed I bought a copy.

I loved the book, the story, the characters, the setting. The on my bit where I found myself skimming was the drawn out description of the incident with the teenage Meany. I was, like, "Okay I get it".

I do can see this as a TV series.

Cheeky Graham should make proper time in his busy schedule for his Gransnet fans!

Grannyknot Sat 12-Aug-17 09:02:00

"Only" not "on my".

Grannyknot Sat 12-Aug-17 09:02:25

Too not do! blush

Mapleleaf Wed 16-Aug-17 22:09:30

Yes, I agree with Grannyknot that Graham should find time in his busy schedule for his gransnet fans. I do hope he is going to respond to some of the questions - after all, other authors do, and I'm sure they are busy, too!!

GrahamNorton Wed 30-Aug-17 12:49:52


I really enjoyed this book and found it a page turner. For a first novel it was very skilfully written, what a versatile man Graham Norton is!
I did find there were some little niggles when I finished the book, possibly because I read it so quickly and so will be rereading it soon.
I can see this book as a film. Does Graham think it might happen?
I would also ask Graham which he prefers, acting, singing or writing very entertaining novels?

Well, I've sold the film and TV rights so let's see what happens. I think far more books are bought by production companies than ever make it to the big or small screen. At the moment a broadcaster has commissioned a script so if they like that and can find the right cast you might be seeing it in the Radio Times. I opted to have no involvement however, since script writing is a skill that I don't have and haven't much interest in acquiring!

Acting was my first love but it comes a distant third these days. Presenting is a job I really enjoy and it affords me the opportunity to do things like write novels. I loved writing Holding but maybe that was as a reaction to my day job. The chat show is all about collaborating. Before the show I work with a team of researchers and producers and on the night I rely on the guests to create a good show. Being an author is for the most part completely solitary and I really enjoyed that. I am aware though that if I was writing full time all that solitude might drive me slightly crazy!

GrahamNorton Wed 30-Aug-17 12:51:38


I have just finished this book and enjoyed it, particularly the way the characters were drawn with such understanding of human weaknesses and frailties. We once had a lovely holiday in a little village not too far from Cork, which was very like Graham describes his fictional Duneen so it felt very real to me.

I would love to read more about PJ - the Sergeant and wonder if he is going to feature in another book?

I'm so glad you enjoyed PJ. I'm very fond of him too but for the moment I feel his tale is told. I am currently writing my next novel, and it is a completely new set of characters. I hope you like them as much!

GrahamNorton Wed 30-Aug-17 12:53:08


I hoped I would enjoy this book and I did. At first the depth to which the characters was examined was a bit annoying but gradually I began to love the well-observed insight into each character. You realise that the face a person shows to the world is but one facet of a person's life.

We all have our secrets, big or small, but this gentle, charming, little page-turner shows that secrets can have catastrophic consequences when they come out.

The only criticism I have is that the book that I received was of poor quality. Every page I read curled making it hard to hold with one hand.

Question for Graham: When I was introduced to Mrs Meany, I thought her name was a nickname, giving us an insight into her character (i.e. Mr Happy, Little Miss Naughty) but it turned out to be her actual name. Why did he choose this name?

Choosing all the names in the book was a nightmare. I didn't want to use any that were shared by my friends or neighbours but at the same time they had to sound believable for residents of Duneen. Meany ticked both boxes - sorry if it was a little confusing for you at first. In some ways she is my favourite character in the book.

GrahamNorton Wed 30-Aug-17 12:54:43


I really enjoyed this book by Graham Norton. His characters are well written and there was enough in the book to me me turning the pages. Good twist at the end a great offering for a first fiction book. I'd like to ask Graham when did he start writing fiction? Have you always written it for yourself and a,ways had ideas in your head or did the popularity of your autobiographies spur you on to writing more as I suspect there's only so much you can write about your own life.

Like many people I first tried my hand at fiction when I was in school and kept it up to some extent when I was in university. I knew I enjoyed it but somehow there was never a right time to get back to it. In my youth I only attempted short stories since a novel seemed so daunting. It was only after I had managed to write two books of memoirs that I thought I might be able to manage fiction in the longer form.

GrahamNorton Wed 30-Aug-17 12:56:53


Well I did post but didn't ask a question so here goes,
Graham, are you proposing to write more fiction and if so will it be set in Ireland again? You certainly know about village life. Were you brought up in that environment?
I would like to read a comedy by you, I think you would be very good in that genre.

I am writing a second novel and it is set in rural Ireland once more. It is a world I know well having been brought up in several smallish towns and villages in Ireland. As for comedy, well, there might be a few more laughs in the second book but it is still more of a mystery. I hope you like it anyway!

GrahamNorton Wed 30-Aug-17 12:57:38


I found the first part really slow and although it was necessary for the characters to grow, I found myself constantly checking back as my attention was wandering.

I'm glad I didn't give it the Red Chair though because the pace picks up in Part 2 and although it's not a gripping crime novel there's enough drama to keep the pages turning.

Graham, I'd also like to ask if you will be writing any future novels and what other ways of life inspire you?

Yes. Book number two is being slowly worked upon right now. This is another book set in rural Ireland. For my debut novel I wanted to pick a world as far removed from my urban media life as possible but in the future I could imagine writing a story set in New York or London.

GrahamNorton Wed 30-Aug-17 12:58:26


Hi Graham
I sometimes have trouble sleeping and have recently discovered audio books which I listen to during the night.
Last night after having read the reviews on GN I purchased your book Holding.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that you were the narrator as well as the author.
How did this come about?
Was it your choice to narrate or was it suggested by your publisher?
I think your voice adds to the story as I can switch back to reading your book on my pad and will still to hear your voice in my head .

I'm so pleased you enjoyed the audio version of the book. To be honest I didn't want to do it as I felt the job would be better suited to an actual actor. The publishers insisted and you now know how it turned out. One of the things I wanted to avoid was people hearing my voice when they read the book because I feared it would take them out of the story, but that didn't seem to bother you - hurrah!

GrahamNorton Wed 30-Aug-17 13:24:25


I could not get into this book at first but by Part 2 I was hooked.I enjoyed all the characters but especially the contrast between Evelyn and Brid(is it pronounced Brid or Bride?)One had such a sad life while the latter seemed much more able to cope and was a much stronger character.I would like to ask Graham if any of the characters are based on people he knows and if he enjoyed writing stories as a child.

Many of the locations in the book are based on real places but I was scrupulous about not basing any of the characters on real people. Even so, I'm sure many of my neighbours in West Cork have imagined they've spotted themselves or people they know. I did write a little as a child. Myself and my friend spent hours writing and illustrating a parody of "Jaws" called "Gums". It remains unpublished.

GrahamNorton Wed 30-Aug-17 13:26:09

And in response to JackyB...

Holding wasn't the original title. The publishers felt my first choice sounded like erotic fiction so suggested I change it. It took a while but eventually I came up with Holding. I like it because that word has several meanings that all reflect the story and characters. A holding is a small parcel of land, it also means waiting, as well as not letting go and the physical act of being held. Now you know!

Craicon Wed 30-Aug-17 16:06:33

I'm late to the party but I read the book a while ago and really loved it. It's very entertaining with a satisfying mystery plus I recognised many of the places local to me including the car park behind the supermarket.
The characters portrayed accurately reflect the range of personalities found within the local villages in West Cork. I especially loved the village shopkeeper. I've met a few of those!

annsixty Wed 30-Aug-17 16:14:46

Thank you Graham for your answers. Very honest and revealing. May I say that the back page of "Saturday" is the first thing I turn to.
You have such an insight into people and relationships and what is more you tell it how it is and not just what people want to hear.

Mapleleaf Wed 30-Aug-17 22:15:04

Thank you for all your replies, Graham. I'm glad you are doing another book - I'll certainly keep a look out for it and buy it when it is published, as I really enjoyed reading Holding.