WHEN a writer of the obvious talents of John Boyne says Graham Norton may very well be ‘wasted on TV’ and that he ‘may just have discovered his true vocation’ as a novelist, you have to sit up and take notice.
Graham Norton has enjoyed good commercial success with his two autobiographies – So Me in 2004 and The Life and Loves of a He-Devil in 2014 – and now his first novel Holding – which was launched last week – is getting a very positive response, with respected reviewers up and down the country giving it the proverbial thumbs-up.
During the summer – while still in residence at his summer home in Ahakista on the Sheep’s Head Peninsula – Graham Norton tweeted that he had received the proofs of the book from publisher Hodder & Stoughton.
And, in interviews, he always enthused about writing a novel, so he must be thrilled skinny with the early reviews.
Author John Boyne has said: ‘I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I came to Holding by Graham Norton with certain expectations, all of which were confounded early on. I assumed it would be funny and it’s not, for although there are occasional moments of dry wit, this is not a comic novel. I imagined it would be a quick, easy read but in fact it’s skilfully paced.
‘I thought it would be all plot – but while the story is certainly engaging, it’s the delicate characterisation that stands out.’
‘To be honest,’ John Boyne added, ‘I didn’t think it was going to be very good. I was completely and utterly wrong.’