Another Lovely Review of The Draftsman

Find out more from Bookhive: https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Laurel-Lindstrom/The-Draftsman/25875852


This review was originally posted by SharonMay 30, 2021 Thank you!

‘The Draftsman’ by Laurel Lindström is a unique and beautiful story. We are introduced to a damaged and highly intelligent man – Martin who buys Shadowhurst, a large estate in the West Country to hopefully find some peace for his busy mind. The history soon becomes apparent so he begins to research the rich background of the place he calls home. Laurel Linström has created a beautiful character with Martin and I could empathise with his struggle to deal with his personal issues such as his odd mannerisms.

A highly gifted man he has grown up under his extremely protective parents and his obsessiveness comes with his gifts. Some people have that struggle as they grow up. They have problems communicating emotions and peer to peer friendships which leads to social isolation also. This is because other people cannot understand the turmoil the highly gifted experience in normal situations for everyone else. This issue is one of the main themes of the story.
As the story unfolds we are taken to how Martin made his money in the past and that in itself gave me an understanding that helped everything to slot into place from that point on.

Martin begins to overcome his own issues with himself and I for one was actually so happy he was able to find a way to get there. He has his family to help and I was happy to see that he does have good friends in his boss who seems to just ‘get’ Martin and moves at Martins pace to get him to be a skilled draftsman. This really had me cheering for Martin as I could see his way forward in life.

I adored the setting of Shadowhurst. I could see exactly why Martin invested in this estate. I was so chilled reading about it I could almost understand his obsession with the history of this place.

It may only be just under 200 pages but it is a heartwarming story that reminds us no matter how unique everyone is…underneath we are all human.

Thank you to Random Things Tours and Unbound for my copy of this unique book

This is my favourite review! Someone said “Wow” about The Draftsman!

The Draftsman by Laurel Lindström 

BY SHELLEYFALLOWS ON  • ( 1 )

Martin Cox is a brilliant but untrained draftsman in his early twenties. He is rich, damaged, obsessive. Shadowhurst Hall, remote, desolate and forgotten, exerts a peculiar pull. The country landscape, a world of shades and shadows, both confuses and beguiles Martin, a man more comfortable in black and white, with facts and numbers.

As he explores the house, the landscape and its history it leads him on a journey – back in time to two world wars, and forwards, unexpectedly, towards a healing. A novel of memory and history, and of the scars left by
unacknowledged damage and how they can shape us, The Draftsman is also a story of renewal.

Wow. This is an absolutely stunning novel. Beautifully written. Laurel captures the vice like grip of anxiety and the shadow it casts over a life just brilliantly. Trauma and memories from the past have a hold over Martin. It is something he will never talk about, there is no resolution. But this story shows his journey through the darkness, how he emerges blinking, slowly finding acceptance and life. Upon entering Shadowhurst Hall, his world shifts slightly and he is disorientated. His view changes in more ways than one and suddenly he is able to look out past the trauma, able to face different situations.

Upon first glance this is such an unassuming novel but, oh my goodness, what an absolute gem it is. It is stunning and wonderfully unique. The cover image grabbed me initially. It packs such as strong visual pull and then of course the synopsis, mysterious and with the intrigue of the house and surroundings – I just couldn’t wait to read it. 

I absolutely devoured it. The prose is beautifully constructed. Laurel has a degree in Linguistics and you can see how much she loves (and breathes) language. It isn’t a novel to rush though, but one to savour whilst you slowly digest every single morsel. 

“Martin looked back at the lake lying smooth in the still, dead air, its uncertain shades and shadows rimmed with weedy debris. He didn’t see the seasonless, lifeless memories of long-gone summers shivering on its surface. Nor did he see that close to the tired fence, the twisted grasping fingers of bare trees were writing long-forgotten secrets in old blacks and sepias against a miserable sky. Martin’s cigarette burned down in a series of tiny pops and hisses, masking the whispers hanging momentarily in the desolate grey air. As he stared out at the baffle of the landscape he felt a curious sense of erosion, a creeping, unidentifiable darkness. He looked again at the shades and shadows but only saw the lines between black and white.”

Dripping with metaphor we see Martin’s state of mind through his surroundings. He spends his time between his London flat – a place where he smokes heavily, rarely cleans and lives in squalor and Shadowhurst Hall the complete opposite. Whilst at Shadowhurst he doesn’t smoke and has a cleaner every day to keep the place spotless. It is almost as though he is trying to cleanse his soul – to break free whilst he is there. Martin is a strange, damaged character who has built his own coping abilities to deal with the shadows in his past. This story is an awakening of not only Martin, but also of Shadowhurst Hall and the secrets locked away in the past. 

For me, this story was unforgettable. It was incredibly moving and touched a part of my soul. There is much darkness but you feel the mist lifting as the novel progresses and the story is ultimately filled with hope and light. Thoroughly recommended.

My thanks go out to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and to the publisher for sending me a review copy. I know this will be a novel I will return to again and again. It is available on both eBook and in paperback. I do hope that one day an audiobook will be available, the prose written hear cries out to be read aloud. 

What Would Laurel Lindström Say, As A Critic, About The Draftsman?

What would they say?
In reading and critiquing Best First Novel Award contenders it occurs to me that I am too harsh, too demanding and way too mean to these brave writers. It makes me wonder what would I say about the Draftsman if Unbound puts it forward as a candidate? There is certainly lots to say about this book, starting with its basic premise: it’s about a brilliant but damaged man and is the story of his genius, his healing and a forgotten mystery. Well yes it’s all of that, but it took me ages to come up with this tight little distillation. Unfortunately it makes the book sound quite interesting, which I am not sure that it is.
 
It’s all about …
The Draftsman is about Martin Cox an untrained draftsman of 24. He’s accidentally rich, a heavy smoker, damaged, obsessive, binary. He buys a house in the country as an investment and to get away from his squalid London flat. The country landscape surrounding Shadowhurst Hall confuses and beguiles Martin, who obsesses with black and white contrasts and binary expression, facts, numbers, in a world of shades and shadows. The desolation and the twin lakes on his property exert a peculiar pull that he doesn’t understand, but which attracts him. He doesn’t smoke in his new house. Let’s face it, he’s weird.
 
The story slowly unfolds in a series of flashbacks which explain how the man came to be so wealthy, why he’s strange and how he might get better if only he would learn to be at least a little bit nice to people. Except that he cannot, at least he cannot until he starts getting interested in his new house and its history. Gradually he moves towards renewal, but not for any particular reason and this is perhaps annoying for readers.
 
This is the bit that the critic in me hates in the Draftsman. He moves so damn slowly from thing to thing and there are way too many words cluttering up his aimless meanderings. His friends are nondescript and his relations mostly dead. How can you have a central character who is so closed up and strange? Why would a reader want to know more about Martin Cox? Unless you want to categorise him somehow, which seems to be a popular sport these days.
 
Reading it as a critic this is what I would say. Of course as the author I have some power to fix it, but here’s a thing. Once something is written and finished it is really hard to go back and restructure it, rewrite it so much that it turns into something completely different. The only way I can correct my own omissions and errors, is to revisit Martin Cox and put him into a new and different context. This context will have to be Martin Cox as the intrepid brain, searching for the answers to the mystery that is only uncovered at the end of the Draftsman. Giving his razor wired brain something to unravel will give me some structure within which to elaborate the whos, whys and wherefores of Martin Cox without using imagistic flashbacks. One to think about.

A Review by Wild Writing Life

More about the writer here: WildWritingLife

The Draftsman by Laurel Lindström


A house means more than a place to live. It is a place that often breathes in and out the souls of his past and present inhabitants. There are not only walls and wood and concrete, but real humans who lived there and therefore left their spiritual imprints and shared their stories within those walls.

The Draftsman, the debut novel by Laurel Lindström, explores the impact of a story shared within the precincts of a house into the life of the new owner. Martin Cox is the right match for being the recipient of the story: gifted but afraid of his own gifts, intelligent and rich. By buying the property in Shadowhurst Hall he is becoming not only the owner of a piece of real estate, but of a story he is decided to explore and put his genius mind at work, trying to understand its message and search for the characters.

Personally, I’ve found the idea of the book fascinating, and the same goes for the main character. The writing is precise, intelligent and poetic with beautiful descriptions and evocative passages. Sometimes, the dialogues do not fit well into the story and are not easy to follow and maybe the elaboration of the story is not necessarily punctilious but overall, it has a captivating thread which does not let you say “good bye” until done. 

The Draftsman ignites the kind of curiosity that is not necessarily the result of a certain pace or built-in emotional suspense, but due to the inherent stroke of personality of the characters. The strangeness – both of the story and of the characters – are wrapped in a beautiful wording and that’s in my case the recipe for keeping me interested in reading a book in one sitting. 
A note of appreciation for the cover which is really special and illustrates in a very creative outstanding way the chore of the book. It’s not happening very often therefore it deserves the praise.
Rating: 4 stars

Disclaimer: Copy offered in exchange of the participation of the book tour but the opinions are, as usual, my own.
Posted by WildWritingLife at 28 May 
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Labels: laurel lindströmpsychological novelspsychological suspensethe draftsman

Global corona virus suspension order


This post was originally published on the 1st April, 2021

In light of the corona virus pandemic, governments around the world have got together and made an important declaration. The Coordinated Global Governmental Announcement (CGGA) is being made in response to the rapid spread of the virus. The devastating contagion has caused a variety of national lockdowns, forbidden civil sniffling and coughing in public, banned all hugs, kisses, close quarter flirting and general jollity. The bans have consequently caused considerable misery. People have been forced reluctantly to sprawl on sofas, eat takeaways and drink beer, while watching excessive quantities of Netflix, You Tube and BBC content. To ease the burden, the CGGA has decreed that all problems and related processes are now suspended indefinitely.

The announcement comes at a time of unprecedented government generosity, with the exception of personal protective equipment provision and virus testing kits. Tonnes of money has been promised to businesses and citizens all over the world. Governments in countries such as the UK have also provided additional original online entertainment content as part of their support packages. Funding is only available for people who can negotiate complex strategy based gaming moves to work out how to claim money they are entitled to. Processes have been made especially exciting to titivate and tantalise those people whose cash flow has dried up completely. Claimants are expected to be much encouraged by today’s announcement that processes and problems are now suspended for the foreseeable future.

For many authorities, citizens’ inability to navigate funding application processes was considered a mildly worrying problem. However CGGA’s announcement means that this problem, along with all the other problems in life, goes away. Difficulties such as paying utility bills, buying food, paying for heating and internet service provision, loneliness and the like are now classified as problems. Henceforth they are cancelled.

The CGGA’s new measures are expected to remain in place until the corona virus is totally destroyed. This might take a few years, or a few generations, but there is little certainty as to which. There is also little certainty on possible corona virus exit strategies, however, as this is an especially severe problem, it has also gone away especially severely.

The Lassies’ Reply

With apologies to Robert Burns, here is my take on the reply to Toasting the Lassies for Burn’s Night 2020.

The Lassies’ Reply

Thank you sir for toasting the ladies
We’re all in heaven, far from hades
We know the tunes, the sins, the wages
And so do you
Side by side we turn the pages
You know this too

Though your fate is to do our bidding
We know its trust and not just kidding
That keeps us oft from just admitting
Of what you can do
We ponder standing and just sitting
Oh what thoughts ensue

If you wonder why we love you
Know our dreams are sometimes of you
Though nightmares might be closer truth
And what we see
In holey pants and scuffed up shoe
Is mystery!

They say a man’s more with a wifey
Not sure it’s true when times get dicey
For winds blow cold and long and icey
Oft it’s endless
So forgive weather that’s unkindly
Try a caress

If we get cross when you digress
Or switch the channel sans redress
Or leave the bathroom in a mess
Please, just don’t
We’d rather have your tenderness
Than spit “I won’t”

For men who touch us slow or fleetly
Who we do serve, just oh so meekly
You know we see you
And you care for us, oft thrice weekly
You know what to do.

This short poem is too soonly ending
On your patience it’s been depending
But time for you, is not mere lending
It’s for always
Though only if the knee’s sharp bending
For all the days.

Beware our passion and our scorn
Remember us lest you should mourn
Hope and faith are with us reborn
For lust and love
Needs you strong, bold, and not forlorn
Our hand, your glove.

Invention is the mother of necessity

This is about the importance of reinvention, especially of yourself. It was originally published January 2020.

Where to start. Is it with what’s happening with the Authors’ Club and my reviews of Best First Novel Award contenders? Or is it where the Draftsman is in the Unbound publishing process (their doing design and edits)? Or who Laurel Lindström is (nobody really knows)? Or is it the familiar territory of graphics production technology? Ultimately that’s where I am most comfortable, but it’s also the world I am slowly turning away from, slowly and with considerable anxiety. Or is that world slowly turning away from me?

Starting in Malibu and ending in Eastbourne (yes, Eastbourne)

The beginning of this long and rewarding writerly career was on Cliffside Drive, Malibu, California, deep in the heart of the graphics industry way back in 1980. It started with a police car and a three month assignment for Jonathan Seybold and turned into a fourteen year spectacular before going tits up. Thank you to Agfa Graphics’ Marc Tinkler (now someone terribly important with Epson) for then commissioning me to write a 1000 word article for interface, their inhouse magazine. I can’t remember what the piece was about, but I do remember the £250 I was paid for it (freelancers always stay hungry). And thanks too to top trade mag Printing World’s Scott Beagrie, the then features editor and now a successful freelancer himself. Scott commissioned me to write 5000 words on colour repro systems. It took me an agonising and unnecessarily long six weeks to research and complete. But the end result earnt a lavish sum: £700+ I think. More importantly, it gave Laurel Brunner a profile in the printing and publishing industry as a freelance writer and journalist. From 1994 to date, I have been paid to write about graphics industry technology. Much more importantly I have had a life that has been and remains nothing short of amazing.

From wow to blah blah

Over recent decades the graphics industry has changed dramatically, so much so that now there is little challenge to understanding how stuff works, how well it works or whether it’s worth the investment risk. Today, with a handful of exceptions, there is pretty much no great investment risk especially in software. Hardware is cheap and plentiful, foundation technologies are proven and robust, and apart from a few renegade recidivists, inventors who might once have served the graphics industry are busy elsewhere.

Technological advances have been astonishing since well before 1994. Those colour repro systems I agonised over and finally wrote about a mere 26 (magic number, I’ll explain one day) years ago cost upwards of £10,000 a pop for the basic system. And they were cheap compared to the £100,000+ proprietary systems that preceded them. Today most, if not all and more, of what they did can be done in Adobe Photoshop. And for the £50 monthly subscription you also get InDesign for page layout and Acrobat for making perfect PDFs, plus Illustrator, Premiere Pro and XD (it’s for user interface design). Yes you might struggle at first to use these tools, but the online support ecosystem will sort you out for free. Quite a departure from the costs associated with the publishing front end systems way back in 1980.

Eyes front

Looking back risks a cricked neck and a stumble off the edge, so my view remains ever forwards, ever broader and ever wider. It’s about keeping up with technology and writing about it whenever there is something interesting to say. And it’s about inventing my own interesting stories, starting with now, here on this site, where someone called Laurel Lindström is telling new tales, while holding very tight to Laurel Brunner’s clammy inkstained hand.

From Rachel Reads 1983

Rachel Reads 1983 Instagram @rachel_reads_1983 is one of Instagram’s most prolific readers and reviewers. Rachel reads at an absolutely dizzying pace, and this is what she says about The Draftsman.

A Review of The Draftsman

Today I’m kicking off the booktour for The Draftsman by Laurel Lindström.  Thank you so much to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for letting me be a part of it. 

Martin Cox is a brilliant but untrained draftsman in his early twenties. He is rich, damaged, obsessive, binary. 

Shadowhurst Hall, remote, desolate and forgotten, exerts a peculiar pull. The country landscape, a world of shades and shadows, both confuses and beguiles Martin, a man more comfortable in black and white, with facts and numbers. 

As he explores the house, the landscape and its history it leads him on a journey back in time to two world wars, and forwards, unexpectedly, towards a healing. A novel of memory and history, and of the scars left by unacknowledged damage and how they can shape us, The Draftsman is also a story of renewal. 

This was a really impressive debut and such a fascinating read.  The cover is absolutely stunning and is a really great metaphor for the book itself.  There were elements of humour in the book but, through Lindström’s skilful writing, and through a small cast of characters, also poignancy and loss. 

Haunting, heartfelt and beautifully written, this book deserves to be read and savoured.  The Draftsman is truly something different and is out now.