If hearing that Jamie Waylett (otherwise known as Vincent Crabbe) is a rapper surprised you just a touch, here’s a Harry Potter cast member’s outside project that’s less of a shock. Actually, it’s quite thoroughly in character!
David Thewlis, better known as Remus Lupin, wrote a novel back in 2007. It may be several years old, but it was news to me when I found out a few weeks ago! I love Lupin and think David is fantastic, so when I heard about it, it was ordered within five minutes.
The Late Hector Kipling ($25.00 from Amazon) is about Hector, a famous English painter. Things begin normally enough (save for a mental breakdown in the middle of the Tate Gallery), but quickly spiral into madness a la Crime and Punishment. He struggles to cope with being jealous of his more successful friend, an absent girlfriend, his parents’ insane expenditures, and a vandal attacking his most valuable painting, and things begin to go wrong. Very, very wrong.
It’s a very dark book, with death being an extremely prevalent theme. Like I mentioned, things spiral into madness, each turn of events being stranger than the last and, more than once, causing me to close the book and wonder what the HELL just happened. If you’re looking for a happy read, this is not it.
That being said, David Thewlis is one seriously talented writer. He manages to balance a fairly disturbing plot with believable love, the complexities of friendship, and some lines and situations that are laugh-out-loud funny (“Jesus monkey-legs-Costello, do I give it some thought.”). Even though Hector is very unstable and makes a series of obnoxiously horrible decisions, I found myself rooting for him and even sympathizing with his motivations.
“What I’m trying to say is that one cannot interpret the curves and drops of existence until one has skidded a little on the ice and gravel of annihilation.”
That makes sense!
I absolutely love David’s voice and writing style. I’m not usually a fan of first person narration, but it was definitely the best choice for this plot, allowing us to see all of Hector’s conflicting thoughts and emotions. And some of David’s descriptions were just superb; I didn’t know a stomach could feel like it was filled with “ash and jam.” As a bit of a book nerd, these kinds of things make me happy.
So, if you don’t mind things getting a little surreal and creepy, I would definitely recommend this book. It’s a fabulous, well-written, thought provoking first novel, and I can only hope that David’s planning on writing more in the future.
Do you think you’d be interested in reading The Late Hector Kipling?