Up the Wrong Tree?

Novelist Andrew O’Hagan, who has just (I jest not) ‘written a novel from the perspective of Marilyn Monroe’s pet terrier’ can be found defending himself in this week’s Guardian.

The article in question is crammed full of fascinating ideas, not least the idea that writing a story from the perspective of a dog both has and can work. This may be news to some of us. He also alludes to Evelyn Waugh. ‘In the 1930s,’ he tells us,  ‘Evelyn Waugh wrote that the novel of the future will only be truly alive if it knows how to present a story narrated by a dress. The contemporary novelist, I’m sure, is working on that, but meanwhile he and she are involved in reviving some of the oldest traditions of animal and botanical literature.’

A story narrated by a dress? I’m sure it exists. No mention at any point in O’Hagan’s article, however, of Yoy Ijit’s delicious novel My Grandmother’s Pudding, which is (as we all well know) narrated by a pudding (a cherry crumble, no less). I can only note in passing that Caspar Nietcher’s review of this very work has stern words for writers of O’Hagan’s ilk, concluding  ‘that stories written from a specifically non-human viewpoints ought not to be seen as anything other than pointless exercises’ ( My Grandmother’s Pudding being of course, the exception to the rule).


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