Liquorature Gathering #037 – “Cleyshot Cliffs” (David John Watson)
Date: February, 2012
Whisky: Ardbeg Corryvreckan, Bruichladdich Manzanilla 12 y.o. WP Exclusive & ?
For the second time in two years we were afforded the opportunity to tackle a work by David John Watson, none other than the brother of Liquorature member, Robert. You may recall our previous ‘go’ at David’s ‘Geonesis’, a book rich in originality and Crichton-esque scientific plausibility, but a little thin on technical writing chops. While noted as not perfect, the Liquorature crew was so suitably impressed as to recommend the novel on further (indeed all our spouses read it) and to anxiously embrace the opportunity to read David’s follow-up novel. No doubt about it, the guy has a voice and some damn cool ideas.
So….here’s the deal. David is a gent in the UK who has wide-ranging interests (music, writing, golf, etc). From what I understand, when he puts his mind to something…he follows through. Tackling a second book shows not only a passion, but a love of the craft. This time ’round David offered us a ‘sneak peek’ on the condition we provided constructive criticism back to him for use in the editing stages of the process. We agreed and were presently sent on PDFs of David’s new novel, ‘Cleyshot Cliffs’.
While I went in with pen to hand, I quickly got lost in the tale and had to go back through to properly together my thoughts regarding edits and such. Here we have a novel that unfolds in a manner quite similar to Scott Smith’s The Ruins. The emotional unraveling taking place in an isolated locale may be the only similarity, however, as Watson injects some interesting science and, well…let’s just say you should read this one. Keep checking Spinney Books for an official release. To date, I still only have a printoff in duotangs, but anxiously look forward to the end product and a good re-read with a dram in hand.
If you’re curious as to style, think along the lines of a dash of Crichton, a splash of King, a pinch of Scott Smith and maybe even some of the isolation captured by Dafoe, Golding and others in their beach/shipwreck/island tales.
Not everything in the book works flawlessly, but it does more often than not. I could certainly see this as a decent seller at any airport bookshop.
Anyway…this is not a book review. That has already been done on the downlow (with all criticisms sent on to the author himself). This is merely a sharing of impressions. Put simply…I was suitably impressed enough to re-read. I like the way this tale unfolds. While maybe not as original as ‘Geonesis’ was, in terms of pure innovative ideas, this one is much more smoothly executed. A quick and enjoyable read with a solid ending that pleased immensely.
Most of the evening’s conversation revolved around the actual technical writing aspects of the book, but we definitely found enough subject matter to have some poignant and topical conversations too. Sex, youth, scares, family, etc.
Well done, David. Look forward to a proper print copy of this one. And more importantly…sincerely look forward to the next one you write.
Alright. The event itself…
As always when Robert hosts, we found ourselves at the acreage in Millarville, bout 20 minutes outside the city of Calgary. This is a great little piece of land, nicely hemmed in by trees, with a climbing driveway and a great sprawling back area complete with firepit and all. These club gatherings always turn out to be over-nighters for at least some of us. This is partially because it is the responsible thing to do (zero tolerance for drinking and driving), but also because it is a chance to forget about all responsibilities for the night. A chance to pour that extra drink, eat that extra burger, stay up that extra hour, whatever. As is usual out here in ‘neverland’, this was another great evening, under the watchful eye of the moon, doing our best top fight off sobriety. I like to think we won.
Finally…apologies (and no offense intended to any), but I can find neither my original notes nor photos from this night. No idea what the others bevies were that were on offer. Or even the food, for that matter.
Oh well. Let it remain a pleasantly faded memory, meant only for those that were there.