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First let me say how very much
I enjoyed both your books. You write about the complexities
of the human condition with elegance and deceptive simplicity.
I find that I'm always stopping to think about something
you've just said so that they take an unusually long
time to read.
I have been thinking a lot about
your "Most necessary tis that we forget to pay
ourselves what to ourselves is debt quoteation"
. You seem to be saying that Hamlet shouldn't have avenged
his father as doing so only brought about more deaths.
Would I be right in thinking that you prefer the forgiveness
of the Tempest to the revenge of Hamlet?
Salley Vickers writes: I don't
know that I 'prefer' THE TEMPEST, although it is a great
play - but I do think the tragedy of Hamlet is his failure
to see that there was another way than the ghost's call
for revenge. In that sense, Hamlet is a lesson to all
of us in that he squanders his own better instincts
to pursue a pointless revenge, against the seeming dictates
of his own nature. In INSTANCES OF THE NO.3 I was attempting
a kind of comic reversal of HAMLET, in that the initiating
visitation is from a ghost who is himself guilty, and
forgiveness rather than revenge becomes the reconciling
'theme' of the book. In that sense it has more of the
mood of THE TEMPEST but that sounds grandiose - I didn't
plan it like that, as with everything I have written
so far, it wrote itself that way.
Dear Ms Vickers,
Bravo! A witty book about sexuality, life, death and
the power of the human consciousness to alter 'reality'.
You should have won the Booker with this -
This is a terrific book: I couldn't
stop reading it and I particularly admire your cool
elegant prose. Thank you for giving so much pleasure
and depth of understanding.
Yours, Peter Walsh
Please forgive informal address but I feel, having read
your two books I know you. I loved 'Miss Garnet' but
almost more your 'Instances of the No. 3' The former
made me FEEL - the latter made me THINK. It is so full
of ideas and thoughts to meditate on. I love your concept
of forgiveness. More please! -
Dear Ms. Vickers,
'Instances of he Number 3' was an initial disappointment
to me after 'Miss Garnet's Angel'. Then I began to reflect
on 'Hamlet', went back to the play re-read it and came
to the conclusion that this is an even deeper book than
your first. Well done! May we know when you will be
producing another? You have so many eager fans.
Yours, Derek Harwood
Dear Salley Vickers,
Can you help me? Am I right that Zahin is an instrument
of enlightenment? At first reading he appears the embodiment
of evil. Then I felt he was the reason the Peter came
to understand his own weakness and folly and must therefore
be an instrument of good. Is that right? It seems to
me that a la Iris Murdock you are writing contemporary
books about good and evil. Thank God someone is!
Best Wishes, Eric Airey
Salley Vickers writes: Yes -
I am interested in the way we cannot predict what influences
will lead us towards good or evil. Zahin is an ambiguous
(in many senses) catalyst figure.
I love Bridget what a character! I read a review which
said she was 'hard' how daft can you get? She's a real
woman who is brave enough to face her weaknesses and
grow. How many of us dare do that? Stan and Painter
are also great characters.
Dear Miss Vickers,
I thought at first I would not enjoy this one as much
as 'Miss Garnet' but having finished it I have come
to the conclusion it is a much deeper book but one which
takes reflection to fully comprehend (I don't know that
I have fully understood it yet). I wonder if reviewers
nowadays simply don't have time to digest original ideas
and say any flip thing which comes into their heads.
I read a very silly one in the Guardian which used the
word 'cute' which is not a term I could ever imagine
using of your elegant understated writing and can't
see how anyone could. More please like this. There are
readers out here who like and want profundity and are
not embarrassed by it.
Best Wishes, Daniel Keating
Very glad you had the courage
to write about this topic in your new book.
Thank you for this very engaging
story of triangles. There are so many ideas it takes
time to take them all in but I loved the ghost and the
Yours, Anne Broome
I hope you don't mind my asking but are you a practising
You write so deeply about theological matters and yet
it is hard to detect what your own beliefs are. Obviously,
don't reply if you don't wish to.
P.S. I love your writing too.
It is so simple but so mellifluous. Thank you
Salley Vickers writes: I don't
really want to discuss my own beliefs other than to
say that I don't believe that man is the measure of
all things and that there exist other dimensions beyond
Please will you tell us when
your NEXT book is out. We can't wait!
Susan and Dave Whitman
Salley Vickers replies: I am
finishing it right now - I hope it will be out early