Tuesday, May 2, 2017

"The Best of Adam Sharp"

Graeme Simsion is a former IT consultant and the author of two nonfiction books on database design who decided, at the age of fifty, to turn his hand to fiction. His first novel, The Rosie Project, sold more than a million copies in over forty countries around the world and translation rights have been sold in over thirty-five languages. It was followed by a highly acclaimed sequel, The Rosie Effect.

Simsion applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, The Best of Adam Sharp, and reported the following:
It’s 1989, and Adam Sharp, a 26-year-old Englishman on a working vacation in Melbourne, Australia, has begun a relationship with Angelina, an actor recently separated from her husband, Richard.

From the middle of page 69:
One night, quite late, after we had spent the earlier part of the evening in my loft, Angelina took me to a Chinese restaurant upstairs in one of the city’s laneways. It was an institution, a dive, crowded and noisy and about as far away as possible from the white-tableclothed is-the-blackened-lobster-to-sir’s-liking places I imagined her going with Richard.

We had a table by the door and the waiter had just poured our wine into teacups when a blond woman and her besuited escort, brown paper BYO bag in hand, arrived at the top of the staircase.

I saw him before Angelina did and automatically stood up, so quickly that I knocked the table over. Teacups and wine hit the floor, and the restaurant went quiet.
We were only a few yards apart. I was looking at Richard and he was looking at Angelina. No more than a couple of seconds passed before he spun on his heel and dragged his lady out with him. I had met her before, though it took a moment to see past the comfortable jeans and loose long-sleeved T-shirt: Angelina’s colleague at Mornington Police, Constable Danni.
Yes, it’s representative. The Best of Adam Sharp is built around love triangles, which, in my experience, bring out the best—and worst—in people. As an author, that’s a great setup for exploring character. I’ve tried to make all of the players relatable and motivated, a bit flawed and a bit heroic. Real people.

Much of the story was inspired by real-life incidents. Not all involved me, but this one did. More than thirty years ago, I was having dinner in a restaurant a little like the one describe above and my date’s ex—whom I knew—walked in. He wasn’t with a colleague of hers, and no tables were knocked over, but it was a tense moment, and I had no trouble recalling the feeling.

As I wrote the scene, I had a song in my head—Bob Dylan’s Joey, in which a gangster is ambushed in a clam bar in Little Italy, New York, and pushes the table over to protect his family. That too, is representative. Adam Sharp is a book with a soundtrack—largely popular music from the 60s and 70s—and, for me, most scenes had a musical accompaniment. Many of the songs are on the page and in the play list at the end, so readers can share some of that extra dimension.

Finally, there’s a bit history in the passage. The fashion for blackened everything, the restaurant without a liquor license serving wine in teacups, wearing a suit to dinner! Adam Sharp, with its story of a love re-kindled two decades later, is ultimately about how we deal with the past.
Learn more about the book and author at Graeme Simsion's website and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: The Rosie Project.

The Page 69 Test: The Rosie Project.

The Page 69 Test: The Rosie Effect.

--Marshal Zeringue