‘Tom Fleck, you made me read history! And biography! And geography! What a deceptive novel you are! Deceptive!’ I whined after reading Tom Fleck. Then I remembered that it’s historical fiction and all is well.
Reading Tom Fleck is like an excursion into an English history set during the times of Tudor noblemen when the Battle of Flodden (or Branxton – yeah, I had to Google that) looms. What I find interesting is the writer peppered the story with various birds and vegetation native to the setting, charming inclusions to what might have been a textbook read.
I feel more learned afterwards, granted I had to arm myself with two digital dictionaries and an access to Google images to get a better picture, but it was a well worth it.
Coming from a film background, I liken Nicholson’s prose to a series of close ups, some extremes, and with some longs shots in between, woven and phrased together in a way that effaces any presence of a narrator. With exceptions to dialogues, I found very few, and perhaps no descriptive sentences that began with ‘there was, or there were’. With that, I knew this is a very adult novel, with a very adult writing, one that requires me to give a very adult commitment, and not going away to watch cartoons, or a TV version, like I did with Game of Thrones. Okay I digress, such is the frailty of an ADHD me.
One qualm I have about Tom Fleck is a dearth in character arc and perhaps an inordinate amount of fortuitousness on the main character. The turn of events is just well – swell. But this is historical fiction, so I guess adding a dragon would probably over-stretch the fiction part; and one can do with old-fashion happy endings, what with all the doom and gloom filling novels these days.
Regardless, with Tom Fleck I actually learned something, and this novel is one I’d reread just for the sake of it. I love it.