Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Balzac On The Buses

A friend of mine, when sending good luck messages recently and also wondering whether it would be possible for her to download The Accidental Bus Driver onto her Kindle Paperwhite, wrote:

"If Balzac had driven a bus, he would have gotten in touch with that guy from Google'.

Honoure de Balzac, the great 19th century writer of La Comedie Humaine who wrote about life in France after Napoleon Bonaparte? Of course there's no comparison. Balzac and The Accidental Bus Driver. In today's terms, it's like placing the Booker Prize winner next to a Haynes Car Manual.

But is there really no common ground?

I beg to differ and think there is, however improbable. It comes in the form of Balzac's writing habits. He was supposed to have a light supper around 6pm, sleep until Midnight and then work for 15 hours or more at a stretch.

A bus/coach driver is similar, despite the 'light' aspect to supper as most drivers I know rarely eat light meals and that the hours vary, the stop-start-work-rest ratios of life are similar.

I used to sit at the steering wheel writing and making notes in my rest period. It was the only place on the bus where there was anything closely resembling a desk. But that was where it ended - the quality of the prose was undoubtedly un-Balzac-ian.

No comments:

Post a Comment