Projects you have built in the past stay with you forever. They're the things that have built you. They're the foundations we're constantly laying....
And so it is with The Tale of Brin & Bent and Minno Marylebone.
So much has happened since this, my first graphic novel, was published in July last year: so many projects, pathways, people.... But The Tale of Brin & Bent and Minno Marylebone remains as compelling and controversial as it always was.
I wrote a couple of posts, a while back, talking about the things that people take from stories, and looking at the ways in which The Tale of Brin & Bent and Minno Marylebone have been interpreted by readers, both with and without the knowledge that it was based on a real-life event that happened to me. Those posts are here and here.
Having thought about the various reactions to the book, I realised that providing more autobiographical context to the readers actually helped them break through the barrier of book’s grotesquery to the beauty within.
Next week sees the release of The Tale of Brin & Bent and Minno Marylebone in America, where it's being published by Soft Skull Press. This has allowed for more autobiographical context to be included by way of new edits.
I’m genuinely interested to see whether this will affect the reader’s reactions to my work. However I never wanted The Tale of Brin & Bent and Minno Marylebone to be an ‘issue’ story or a victim’s tale. I just wanted my writing to stand on its own merit.
So I chatted to Soft Skull editor Liz Parker and we thought very carefully about the edits we wanted to make. In the end we amended the foreword contained in the book to read as follows:
‘There was a time when something bad happened to me. I was twenty-one; he was brutal. I was rendered powerless and made to feel as helpless as child.
The Tale of Brin & Bent and Minno Marylebone is about that happening, and the fallout that occurred as a result. It’s a psychological tale, and metaphorical in every sense.
Except for the blood. The blood was real.’
At least this answers some of the questions raised by the story, and perhaps allows the reader to enter into its dark world with a little less unease.
I’m grateful to Soft Skull for taking the book on, and especially to Liz for her sensitive handling of the story’s origins. Being published across the pond is very exciting indeed!