This week the first chapter of the novel I’ve been writing in Latin America, ONCE A GREAT LEADER, was published exclusively in The Scotsman newspaper. But, this being the 21st Century it’s now available to all, online, wherever you are and you can find it HERE. And as a teaser, here’s the blurb and start of the book….
IN the latest instalment of our regular Saturday feature The Write Stuff, showcasing the best of Scotland’s writers, we publish an extract from Rodge Glass’s forthcoming novel, Once a Great Leader, a fictional biography of a future British prime minister who is born into chaos in Chile, raised on a Glasgow housing estate and returned to her homeland after a sudden fall from grace
To attempt the story of a whole life is an impossible job. Even the most mundane existence will contain a thousand pivotal moments, many of those secret, some of them secret even to the subject and certainly to those close by. Then there are the age-old complications of disagreement, confusion, deceit. Of the witnesses who feel they have been wronged and are out to even scales that only exist in their minds. There is, alas, the essential question of what to leave out, every good biographer knowing that each sensible omission, no matter how innocent, distorts the remaining detail, making it seem larger, as if highlighted in the mind of the reader. And yet more. Following this there is the equally crucial question of whether to present the life in isolation or on a broader canvas – and if so, which canvas? Family? Nation? History? The enterprise is fraught with ambiguity and compromise, and that’s before one gets to the issue of the writer’s bias, which is always, without exception, the greatest variable. In short, the whole thing is an attempt to impose order on chaos. Even the biography of the most habitual hermit, living in the dullest of times, would be a challenge to anyone who values the word “truth”.