Just A Fireside Chat

I’ve been reading Anthony Trollope, and I don’t know why I took such a long time to come round to him, because I’m really enjoying his books.

I’ve read how authors disapproved of his habit of talking to his reader directly, and not in a preaching sort of way, but I feel it’s like he’s having a good chat with us.

For example, he’ll stop to assure us that the heroine isn’t going to marry either of these awful men. Or he’ll say personally, he never liked that boy. It’s as if he moved amongst his characters (although he never names himself as a character) as if they were real people, and then is coming to our home and telling us about them.

I love the moment in one of his books when he says his publisher assures him he has to write another 50 pages to fill the volume, but he has no idea how to finish the story. It makes him a very real person, and I can’t help feeling Anthony Trollope would have been great fun to talk to.

Usually the author is silent. They might comment, or point out a moral, but they rarely chat, and they rarely pass judgement on their characters. This usually works, and personally, I prefer to let my characters do the talking. There is normally a barrier between the author and the reader, which lets us pass our own judgement on the characters, regardless of the author’s feelings. But it is such fun to find an author who treats the whole thing like a delicious fireside chat.


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