I’m currently reading Queen Camilla by Sue Townsend (paid link).
The book is a follow up to The Queen and I, in which the Royal Family are moved to a social exclusion zone in an ex-council estate. (No matter what they say about the genre, every mainstream author ends up incorporating SF into their work.)
Given the recent news about Princes Andrew and Harry, the public perception of the Royals will have changed a lot since this book was written. But I find it interesting how Townsend shaped her characters based upon images presented in the media at the time.
Even more so, its the way she does it. Sue Townsend was an excellent writer. Look at this scene where characters are revealed by which biscuit they chose.
‘Oh, for Christ’s sake, Charles, choose a bloody biscuit.’ Andrew grabbed a chocolate digestive and crammed it into his big-jawed mouth. Edward looked at his wife, Sophie. She said, ‘Have the wafer.’ He obediently took a pink wafer and nibbled at its edge. Sophie held the flat of her hand up and turned her head as Anne proffered her the tin.
Anne said, ‘What the fuck does that mean?’ Sophie replied, ‘It means that I do not want one of your biscuits, Anne. The last time I had one of your biscuits, it was covered in dog hair and I was ill for a week.’ When the tin was held out to Harry, he said, ‘I’m cool.’ Anne said, ‘We all know you’re cool, Harry, but do you want a bloody biscuit?’
I love her writing, spare, funny and razor sharp. Like every expert, she made it look so easy…