“So it was really sort of a terrible room. Or an amazing cupboard”

I’ve just begun reading David Mitchell’s memoir Back Story, which Julia thinks is a terrible name for a memoir, whether intended as a play-on-words or not. Those are her words, not mine. Regardless of what the title may or may not lack, depending on varied perspectives, it’s already hilarious. And I’m only fourteen pages in.

I thought I would share a bit of it as an insight into why I find David Mitchell so deeply entertaining. If Ron Swanson is not in fact my spirit animal, David Mitchell definitely is.

“Ian and Kathy Mitchell, a husband and wife running a West Country hotel in the 1970s. But instead of a Spanish waitor, they had a baby, who they kept in the cleaners’ cupboard when they were working. This was primarily because it was a large enough cupboard to have a phone in it. By which I mean, it actually had a phone in it. Almost every cupboard is large enough to have a phone in it, otherwise it’d barely be more than a box attached to a wall. I mean large enough to warrant the fitting of a phone line. So it was really a sort of terrible room. Or an amazing cupboard.”

It was the “amazing cupboard” bit that got me.

What I can already tell, and again, I’m only fourteen pages in, is that this book is going to influence my writing style. It already has really. Just take a gander at the introductory paragraph of this very blog post. I can only imagine what this is going to do to my writing. I mean, if we’re being honest, my narration already comes across as that of a middle-aged British man. I hardly need more encouragement.

~ Hilary Lyon Axle Hatchet

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