My new novel, EDEN ST. MICHEL is out now and available at £1.99/$1.99 for the next week. Here, to whet your appetite, is a brief extract.
From audio recordings made by Eden St. Michel, probably about 1970
“Exotic! That’s the dreadful word I was constantly labelled with. Exotic! As if I were a flamingo or a unicorn, something strange or impossible that shouldn’t really exist in their normal and tedious world.
“Yes, my looks were partly responsible. My ‘aloof beauty’, which the more unimaginative film critics – so all of them – went on and on about. ‘Glacial’, they said, ‘intimidating’, someone confessed. The phrase ‘icily alluring’ actually went out in one studio press release.
“Then one silly bastard labelled me ‘exotic’ and did it close enough to the start of my career that I wasn’t quite pinned down, and because they didn’t have an original thought in their heads, every other halfwit followed on. It was my upturned nose, apparently, my high cheekbones, the fact that my hair is so blonde it’s nearly white. Or grey if in the hands of the wrong cinematographer.
“I think my favourite guess as to the provenance of my ‘exotic’ looks was the scribe in ‘The Daily Mail’ who thought my ancestors might be from Mongolia. I mean, Jesus! Hadn’t this man ever seen anyone Mongolian? Couldn’t he have looked up a picture of a Mongolian in a book? Asked someone what a Mongolian looked like?
“There was also, of course, the fact that I grew up partly overseas, as if that alone gave me an exoticism which no English girl who’d spent zero to twenty-one going no further than the Isle of Wight could match. But really, my dad moved with his job from the suburbs of Epsom to the suburbs of Copenhagen when I was twelve, so just after the war, and we moved back again when I was fifteen.
“When I was out there I went to an English school, so I didn’t even get to learn any fun, interesting swear words.
“Besides, Copenhagen really, really isn’t exotic.
“The people of Copenhagen do not see themselves as exotic in any way. In fact, they’d no doubt look at Epsom as quite exotic.
“While, of course, I’ve learnt from experience that the people of Epsom definitely look at Copenhagen as exotic. As if it’s the road to Timbuktu or some such thing.
“Meanwhile, I’m caught in the middle. An English girl, but with looks that surely must come from some other magical place, and my white – almost grey – hair. For no good reason, I’m exotic, and it’s all so incredibly boring.
“It’s strange, as even though my grandparents were the most English of English people, it’s this foreign quality which is seen as having somehow cursed me. That my Scandinavian beauty – Scandinavian obviously makes more sense than Mongolian, maybe the idiot got the wrong word – was the cause of my fall. As if such glacial, pristine beauty could only ever be a mask for a passionate, unruly nature, which led to a passionate and unruly life, which led to my disgrace and damnation.
“There are some out there who think that what happened to me was entirely down to my looks.
“As if my great fatal flaw was my exoticness.”
Available now at £1.99/$1.99. Get your copy now!