Fidessa cover

It is a common game in literary criticism to trace a writer’s influences. Sometimes the game degenerates into accusations of plagiarism on the part of the critics, and on the other hand many writers are embarrassed to admit that they were influenced at all by any other writer.

But all writers are influenced by other writers. It is impossible for most people to learn to write without learning to read (we recall a notable exception in one Barnstable Bear), and what one has read will invariably shape what one writes. All the great works of literary art have been put together by authors who had read other books and learned from them. Often those authors have deliberately taken another author as a model or inspiration, and that is not plagiarism: it is simply literature at work.

Since an early reader of Fidessa asked about Dr. Boli’s influences, he is happy to mention three writers whose works he had in mind when he was writing it. They are Edmund Spenser, Henry James, and J. M. G. Le Clézio. If you imagine a story written by those three men in collaboration, you should have a very good idea of what kind of reading experience awaits you with Fidessa.