Janan Ganesh’s ramblings at FT are delightful, to say the least. I stumbled on an article on the caustic much-misunderstood aspect of British banter.
We are so used to our own codes of speech, which allow for mild cattiness to break the ice, insults to establish trust and borderline verbal abuse to confirm hard-earned intimacy, that we assume the world understands. In my experience, the Irish do, perhaps Australians, too. The rest are thrown or unsettled by it.
Why so? Ganesh believes that it reflects changes in attitudes toward Britain’s role on the world stage. Read Why British banter gets lost in translation.
Another interesting essay I came across was The Fatal Strength of Goliath by Fiona Mosley whose book Elmet was shortlisted for the Booker. Her story is about an uncle, which goes to show that writing is about incorporating things you know. Her uncle was larger than life and she explores how real lives frame myths and how myths frame the lives of ordinary men. Reading her essay will make you think about how you can create a world where the characters you know in real life can live.