Diary of a Film
‘Niven Govinden’s Diary of a Film, his sixth novel, is also his best yet. Smart, sexy and cinematic (in many senses), it is a love letter to Italy and to film’ Observer
‘Immersive . . . This is a wise and skilfully controlled novel that can be read in an afternoon, but which radiates in the mind for much longer’ Financial Times
‘A beautiful, poignant novel of love and longing’ Telegraph
An auteur, together with his lead actors, is at a prestigious European festival to premiere his latest film.
Alone one morning at a backstreet cafe, he strikes up a conversation with a local woman who takes him on a walk to uncover the city’s secrets, historic and personal. As the walk unwinds, a story of love and tragedy emerges, and he begins to see the chance meeting as fate. He is entranced, wholly clear in his mind: her story must surely form the basis for his next film.
This is a novel about cinema, flaneurs, and queer love – it is about the sometimes troubled, sometimes ecstatic creative process, and the toll it takes on its makers.
But it is also a novel about stories, and the ongoing question of who has the right to tell them.
I truly fell in love with this book. It gifts the reader, offering complex human relationships, beautifully-written; I felt a genuine sadness when each scene ended. Reading Diary of a Film, I was powerfully reminded of the depth of the human heart, and of the work which proceeds from it -- Okechukwu Nzelu A serious, elegant and elegiac novel: an evocative tribute to the lost world of high cinematic glamour and a lament for the artists' struggle towards greatness. When the time comes again, this is the book I'll carry to read during days spent wandering around the grandeur of a city, moving from cafe to cafe, dreaming of the beautiful life -- Preti Taneja Govinden has created a work of taut and enveloping beauty, which gets to the heart of what it is to live an artistic life caught in the never-present of the piece just made and the piece as yet uncreated -- Andrew McMillan Precision engineered European modernism from a master stylist. It walks us into a luminous and loving conversational drama, rich with complex erotics and interwoven private agonies. He writes exquisitely about art making, about obsession and responsibility. It's a gorgeous novel -- Max Porter A meditation on film-making, art, grief and privacy. Constructed with the skill of a watchmaker, with a precise, consistent pitch of intensity -- Keith Ridgeway A wonderful mediation on why we tell stories, and who gets to tell those stories - and the grief of your masterpiece belonging only to its audience once it's finished. Sentence by sentence, one of the most beautiful novels I've read all year -- Nikesh Shukla Vicariously I experienced again the freedom to travel and visit a European city just to catch an exhibition, go dancing or merely escape the mundane for a weekend. Diary of a Film is about seeing the familiar in new ways, finding friends wherever we are and coming to terms with the past being the past. Set amongst the gourmet surroundings of a Northern Italian film festival, it reads like an elegy for a just-gone era -- Paul Mendez, author of Rainbow Milk Diary of a Film is about how art ravages and redeems. It is about the responsibility artists bear both for their art and the world that must contain it; about the imperative to create something substantial in a world that moves too quickly to capture beauty to one's satisfaction; it is about living an ideal, committing to a principle whatever the potential cost, leaping into love and trusting that it will hold you -- Stephen Kelman, author of Pigeon English Diary of a Film is an achingly intimate novel--tender and wise like Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet through the lens of Luca Guadagnino. Govinden drops us into the fray of an Italian film festival only to reveal a secret garden of quiet and stolen moments with a director whose film is about to premiere. In hotel rooms, abandoned buildings, and in a whisper in front of the international press corps, joy blooms, ideas are born, liberties are taken. Trust holds it all afloat. A stunning meditation on the art of creation and the nature of the artist -- Saskia Vogel
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