Danny Wallace, notorious for his playful autobiographic non-fiction, computer game reviews and Guardian column, is at the Book Festival this year promoting his first fictional novel – Charlotte Street. He proclaims himself that his writing is “just like a conversation in a pub” and it is, with friendly anecdotes and ridiculous situations that leave tears in the corners of your eyes, but unfortunately his actual conversational stylings during this interview don’t reflect his writing.
To start off with, the gentle back and forth between Danny Wallace and the interviewer, Damian Barr is cosy and friendly, smattered with in-jokes as they discuss Wallace’s fictional debut. There is no real indication that they are aware of the audience, except when about to discuss points in the novel that might give away the ending, giving the interview a wholly unstructured feel. Overall, nothing enlightening or of particular note happens. The odd joke is met with light, appreciative laughter from the audience who seem relieved to remind Wallace and the interviewer that they are still sitting there.
The plot of the novel itself leads to mild intrigue: a man falls for a woman helping her get into a taxi (standard) and, after discovering she has left him with her disposable camera, he develops this film and the story unfolds in a stalker type fashion (less standard). This would be the perfect opportunity to hear an extract from the novel, but alas, the interview continues to ramble on with no obvious direction or conclusion.
The event finishes with questions from the audience, most of which are centred around his non-fiction works demonstrating the fact that the main event, his fiction debut, has fallen to the wayside.
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