Thursday 24 November 2011

Getting your facts straight... important, even in fiction. I am currently reading a review copy of a book by a very well-known author, which is well-written, and I'm enjoying it. But he begins by describing his central characters's return to England from France in the spring, and what a spring! There is hawthorn blossom, masses of wild pink and white cherry blossom, bluebells, primroses, rhododendrons, little ducklings and returning swallows, all at the same time. Had he done just a little research (or lived in the country), he might have discovered that these things don't all come out at once; that spring is staggered (thank heavens) and things bloom and breed at different times. And I have never seen (or heard of) pink wild cherry blossom. Think Houseman:

"Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with snow along the bow..."

Maybe none of this really matters, but I kept stopping and thinking..."hang on. Surely that isn't right?" and it's very distracting. I just hope the same doesn't happen with autumn (if we get that far)...


  1. So true! I love movies set in San Francisco where the ending is for hero and heroine to go to the beach to watch the sunrise, IN THE WEST?

  2. You kind of think 'if he's got these details wrong, do I believe in anything he says' and you lose confidence in the book, don't you?

  3. Even a small error can make it hard to believe in the rest of the story - which shows how important research is.

  4. Infuriating, but I suspect easy to do! The writer has probably put endless research into the detailed behaviour of rhesus monkeys or whatever his book is about!

  5. Very true, yes. But as to the pink cherry blossoms, look at this picture I took in April this year while I was staying in Ripon with my mother-in-law:
    Can't get much pinker than that :-)

  6. English Rider - yes. And there are those pregnancies that last either two or twelve months!

    Actually, Alis, the book isn't as good as I thought it was. And the plans for its publicity - shown in detail on the back - are enough to make some of us weep this envy!

    Patsy, you're right.

    Jenny, I think I'd welcome those rhesus monkeys now!

    Librarian, yes. But are they wild cherry? I've never seen pink wild cherry. Plenty of the cultivated kind, though. But maybe I'm wrong...

    Colette, exactly!