Most Living by David Charles:
On the edge of total psychological breakdown, a man obsessed with best living fails his self-help guru’s rite of passage.
But when a coquettish stranger convinces him that he’s also murdered his own wife, he must go on a dangerous journey to Cornwall to resurrect her, before hope destroys him.
Most Living is a novel-in-progress about hope and existence, based on the works of Albert Camus. You can read more about ‘most living’ as a concept in my blog post about a friend sailing 3,500 miles from London to Lebanon, in solidarity with the Syrian people.
The book itself is currently at the difficult seven-year stage. It started life as a fragment of an idea that I got at a garden party back in 2007. It then melded with some experiences I’d had travelling around Spain a few years earlier, and with books like The Beach by Alex Garland and songs like Isis by Bob Dylan. Then it froze. Mainly because I’d never written a book before. That’s the main reason, I believe, why ideas never turn into books (or films, or adventures, or businesses) – because you’ve never done it before.
So I had to wait until I’d written (but not published) my first novel, The Magician with Three Hats. Then I waited some more, until I had a spare couple of months and wanted to return to Spain to do some writing. That was the moment for Most Living. Or so I thought…
The book I wrote in Spain was pretty dreadful. It was a confused mélange of influences, my literal dreams fed into a keyboard. It even had George Orwell as a character. Not to be deterred, I came back from Spain, realised that the book needed to be completely different and set in England, and re-wrote the whole thing. Twice.
And that’s where we are. I’d like to get back to it this summer because I think it is a good book with interesting characters (now I’ve got rid of George Orwell) and a very interesting thesis (thanks to Albert Camus). But we’ll see.