Dangerous ideas

Yes, unless it’s dangerous an idea does not really deserve to be called an idea. But these days where every little thought gets shared online and shredded, most new ideas are about as dangerous as a small and rapidly evaporating puddle on the pavement. Why is that? Is it because all the exciting ideas have already been had? Is it because ideas in and of themselves become less dangerous, the more widely they are shared? Or is it because truly exciting ideas engender fear, and the world’s got far too much scary stuff already?

There is no way that all the dangerous ideas have already been had. Rather it seems we just don’t seem to embrace much radical thinking these days, perhaps because there is so little bandwidth for thinking things through with any great depth. Our worlds and headspaces are filled with trivial superficialities, reality television and a miscellany of horrors. From politics to climate change, from identity confusion to sex, processing all the data is quite exhausting and there’s always more information, and less focused indepth debate.

Ideas about who and what we are, what we share and our societal roles and identities are hard to express in a world where news bulletins range from the deeply depressing to vacuous and cheesy, deceitful. There’s a weird new scale for understanding how we are expected to relate to each other, ranging from abject confused victimhood to glittering fantastic stardom. There’s a creepy and even desperate need to place the individual, the self even, somewhere on that scale, to make it conform to some external construct. And yet most of the scale is about not conforming, about coming up with a category that no one else should be allowed to share. Yet they want to.

Of late this has provided quite a rich seam for fiction writers in all formats, but particularly works highlighting some of the horrible stuff that’s always been a fact of life, but that now people want to understand better. Yet apart from the human tragedy themes, in fiction the range of truly new ideas in début works is limited. The classic stuff about identity and the fear of change, of struggling to deal with new experiences, new people, the quest thing, it’s all pretty available if not terribly original. And perhaps readers understand that they should not expect truly original ideas, original writing. They can buy the book as an object, buy its packaging and the comforting familiarity of the themes the blurb summarises. Maybe they don’t much care about its originality.

The bright exceptions are those stories that have often taken a long time before finally reaching the light, and when they do their individuality gets lapped up: think Harry Potter or His Dark Materials. Then a torrent flows and washes around the reading universe, swamping everything else and turning the creators into megamillionaires, stars even. This is a good thing for originality, but it sets a very high bar for all the up and coming writers who lack a champion or the means to keep pushing their books for twenty years or whatever, before a publisher is willing to take a punt.

Moaning aside, it’s a great time for fiction because there is so much technology aiding writers new and old. Technology has also cut the risk of diverse publishing projects and created a host of new channels, making fiction available to global audiences. Once we all get over this and once expectations for what’s new and exciting shift, we can expect to see more brave, bold thinking. And that’s when we can look for truly dangerous ideas again.

Lindström Draws the Reader into Her Heartwarming Debut

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


(Not sure I would agree with “heartwarming”, but what do I know. Read The Draftsman and decide for yourself. Either way, many thanks to The Library Door @apaulmurphy https://thelibrarydoor.me/2021/05/29/lindstrom-draws-the-reader-into-her-heartwarming-debut/ for this review.)

I don’t how you did in school? Me? I was an average kid. Usually given the yard stick of looking up to my high achieving cousins by my well-meaning parents. But as is often said, everyone has their own unique talents and therefore just because maths or metalwork, languages or technical drawing isn’t your thing, doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Usually by the time you graduate college you will have found your true calling.

Some people may discover their unique talents earlier than most, because of being gifted or highly intelligent. This often leads to problems with socially interaction with their peers or being unable to develop loving relationships, unless they find someone or a group of other high achieving likeminded individuals. Usually, they turn into loners because no one can relate to them or understand what internal struggles they are dealing with. Thus, everyday routines that you and I may carry out almost naturally can be seen as a hurdle. Dealing with the complexities of being gifted is the main story of this months third book review, its The Draftsman by Laurel Lindstrom and published by Unbound (www.unbound.com)   on the 21st April 2021.

Martin Cox is an untrained, but gifted, draftsman, in his early twenties, who has become quite wealthy due to a number of shrewd technical designs. But he’s also damaged by his parents protective care and is obsessive as a result of his superior intellect. When he purchases Shadowhurst a large estate in the West Country as both an investment and a way of finding peace and tranquillity for his overactive mind, he soon discovers that there is more than a bit of history to it, and as a result he finds an outlet to occupy his mind, researching its history.

At five pages short of two hundred, this book is not to far off being a novella. Is it a one sitting read? That depends on the reader. For me, the first quarter of the book didn’t really do much and I had feelings of entering The Milkman territory – which I had to throw down after twenty pages. With The Draftsman, I felt adrift and unable to find a footing, but persevered and shortly afterwards when the back story about how Martin made his money was being told, I fell in love with it and from then on it made a lot of sense.

Martin is a beautifully written and a very believable troubled character trying to cope with his foibles and weird mannerisms, and as he starts to slowly overcome them, you feel happy and even emotional at times. Any fear you might have for him dissipates near the end as you realise he has some very good friends and family, including his old boss, Bill, who sees what a complicated character he is due to his high level of intellect, but slowly allows him to move from being just an office tea boy, to a skilled and much sought after draftsman.

Laurel Lindstrom

There is also the unrequited love storyline that takes place between Martin and his financial advisor Joshua. You get the feeling, Joshua wants something to happen, but in the end, Martin just too wrapped up in himself to notice.

Meanwhile the research that Martin takes on, around the history of Shadowhurst is straightforward, but the mystery that surrounds one particular part of it is lovely and excellently revealed at the end.

This is the debut novel of English author, technical writer, and journalist Laurel Lindstrom  (www.laurellindstrom.org) . She’s written a number of collections of short stories in the past as well two books of nonfiction Internet for Beginners (1997) and Past, Print, Future (2018). She has a degree in linguistics from UCLA and is a visiting professor at the Shenzhen Technical University in China. She currently lives in east Sussex.

So, if you are looking for short, but heart-warming read about a gifted individual that, then take up a pen and write a note reminding yourself that next time you are in your local bookshop to look out for it or put an order in.

Reviewed by – Adrian Murphy

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

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