Topics of Conversation: An overly eccentric but promising debut
Review: Miranda Popkey’s debut has brilliant moments undermined by self-indulgence
Miranda Popkey: Employs some good lines along the way
The writer Will Self once defined the use of stream of consciousness in a novel as a stratagem “to try to get closer to the texture of lived life”. In recent years, more and more novelists have been incorporating the technique into their work, creating a deliberate ambiguity between author and protagonist in order to blur the relationship between autobiography and fiction. It’s not entirely new; throughout his career, Philip Roth published many novels built around his experiences in love and life, while more recently both Rachel Cusk and Rob Doyle have created fictional representations of themselves to great effect in the Outline trilogy and Threshold respectively.
Miranda Popkey captures 17 years of life in a debut novel that feels equally personal but, perhaps because she is a writer at the start of her career, the effect is not quite as compelling as in these other books. Certainly there are some brilliant moments on display, but too often they are undermined by a counterpoint of self-indulgence.