MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Beyond the Book: Background information when reading White Blood

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

White Blood

by James Fleming

White Blood by James Fleming X
White Blood by James Fleming
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2007, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2008, 368 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

This article relates to White Blood

Print Review

James Fleming was born in London in 1944, the fourth in a family of nine children. His education began with a governess, Miss Malins, who "wielded power via a thick, blue oval crayon that would be jabbed into our ribs if ever we faltered." At the age of eight he was sent to boarding school at Abberley Hall. He got into Oxford "by a whisker" and gained a second in Modern History. On graduation, he became an articled clerk (trainee accountant) and went to work with Angus & Robertson, an Australian publisher with an office in London.

Since the age of 10 he had been interested in being a writer, and during his twenties had experimented with three or four ideas for books about everyday products (such as A Social History of Tea), but none came to anything. He put writing aside when he got married, had children, started a one-man publishing house and took over the family farm on the death of his father. But in his fifties, with his children grown and his marriage broken, he found time to start writing The Temple of Optimism set in Buxton, Derbyshire in the 1780s, which was published in 2000. This was followed by Thomas Gage in 2003, set in Norfolk, England about 150 years ago during the early period of the railways. White Blood was published in the UK in 2006 and the USA in early 2007.

When asked about writers who have influenced him, Fleming names Nabokov, Tolstoy, Bulgakov, Isaac Babel, Stevenson, Conrad, Joyce Cary, Camus, Saul Bellow and "the most individual of all writers in English" – Laurence Sterne.


Useful to know?

  • Doig, the protagonist of White Blood, is named for a Glaswegian book-keeper in one of the firms Fleming used to audit.
  • Doig's father works for Hodge & Co. A reference to Fleming's mother's side of the family and her seven brothers, the "Hodge boys" who Fleming says were all "wiped out by World War I, either physically or emotionally."
  • James Fleming's father was one of four sons, one of whom is Ian Fleming (1908-64) of James Bond fame. Fleming writes, "I used to think it leech-like to mention this family connection, as if I was trying to rub some of his gloss off upon myself. But now I have grown more confident of my own skills."

Fleming talks about his writing
"I write because I must. It’s the only valid reason for doing something that is so antisocial. I write first in longhand, on one side only of a pad of white, ruled, A4 paper (letter-sized paper) with a Pilot V5 Extra Fine pen. I like the scoring sound of the nib; the triumph of completing a page and laying it to one side; scratching a line through duff words; the formation of certain letters in the alphabet. I like the sense of progress that comes from manually numbering a page. And I know that anything I compose straight onto a PC will be total rubbish – cheap, slack and sometimes even juvenile. I cannot understand why it should be, but it is. Writing is not a burden to me: I find no need to bribe myself. My only necessity is to be facing a blank wall: a window or picture is fatal."

Filed under

This "beyond the book article" relates to White Blood. It originally ran in February 2007 and has been updated for the September 2008 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for a year or $39 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Master Class
    Master Class
    by Christina Dalcher
    Christina Dalcher's Master Class shows America sleepwalking into a perfectionist eventuality not ...
  • Book Jacket: How to Pronounce Knife
    How to Pronounce Knife
    by Souvankham Thammavongsa
    Many examples of immigrant fiction dedicate a portion of their storytelling to exploring details of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Easy Part of Impossible
    The Easy Part of Impossible
    by Sarah Tomp
    Teenager Ria Williams is a skilled diver. She is on track to compete at the Olympic level, but ...
  • Book Jacket: Fire in Paradise
    Fire in Paradise
    by Alastair Gee , Dani Anguiano
    On November 8, 2018, a fire started in Northern California's Butte County after 50-70 mph winds ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Prisoner's Wife
    by Maggie Brookes

    Inspired by the true story of a courageous young woman who enters a Nazi POW camp to be with the man she loves.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Daughter of the Reich
    by Louise Fein

    A spellbinding story of impossible love set against the backdrop of the Nazi regime.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Paris Hours
by Alex George

One day in the City of Light. One night in search of lost time.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The House on Fripp Island

The House on Fripp Island
by Rebecca Kauffman

A taut, page-turning novel of secrets and strife.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

B I T T Water

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.