Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Books: A Work in Progress Dilema

Over the winter of 2014-15 I wrote the first two drafts of a bitter-sweet romance loosely about an older couple taking the plunge and buying a wreck of a house in the south west of France. Without giving too much away, the focus of the plot is her reticence about moving - new country, new man, new business and new challenges. 

My characters - well one of them - were captivated by a view like this.

All well and good, and then wallop, June 23rd 2016 comes along, the British electorate vote by the tiniest of margins in an advisory referendum to leave the European Union and suddenly my simple people-focused plot is in the middle of a massive political upheaval.

So it would seem that I have two choices. I can leave the plot as it stands, ignore the fact that my characters may well have just lost the right to move around Europe freely and do what they are planning to do, indeed ignore all mention of the referendum in the novel at all. The book then begins life as a rather dated historical piece, but as such could perhaps be seen as a nice cosy reminiscence on rather parochial safe and secure times now sadly left behind.

Or I can go back to the beginning and rewrite, taking the uncertainties of Brexit into consideration. But given that one of my main themes was the central character's doubts about moving abroad in the first place, this one event would surely have completely convinced her that it would be an unwise move. I take my hat off to folks still going ahead with their plans for a life in Europe - we have been here seven years and have no idea if we will be able to stay. We would absolutely not have contemplated selling up and moving here under the current circumstances, not that living in an isolated UK is very appealing, either!

And that brings me to my second quandary; the working title of the novel is The Reluctant Expat, and it is the term expat I have been wrestling with pretty much since the migrant crisis took hold. I dislike the distinction between immigrant and expat, we are after all both the same, just people looking for a better quality of life somewhere else.

The Reluctant Immigrant feels too clunky, and maybe sticking to the term expat will make the novel seem more relevant to today. Although if I don't rewrite the thing it won't be, and if I do my central character will have disappeared over the horizon before you can say Article 50!

I think I'll stick to weeding the garden for the time being, and think on some more.

No comments:

Post a Comment