Dinner for One by Emily Smart

A Blog About Hosting an Imaginary Dinner Party for 4 Literary Characters

Choosing who to invite

Playing catch up – yet again – to my fellow bloggers (honestly old people have too much time on their hands); I have been tasked with writing a post on hosting a dinner party for four literary characters. For most people this would probably be an arduous task. There are literally millions of literary characters to choose from, and therefore it would be difficult to narrow it down to merely four. Alas, it’s an arduous task for me because I am not particularly well read. My fellow blogger Trevor invited Micawber to his supper. Between you and me, I have just googled him to find out he was in David Copperfield (not the magician apparently, that would be uncomfortable or rude). Angela name-dropped Heathcliff, who I knew from Wuthering Heights, Kate Bush circa 1977: ‘It’s me I’m Cathy I’ve come home now, I’m so cold, old, old old.’ So there you have it, my knowledge of the classics has been gained through popular culture. What a pleb!

I wasn’t always such a Luddite. I did actually study English literature at school and Sixth Form College. I must have skim-read loads of big books with small print. I remember a lot of Hardy, Shakespeare, (why use a sentence when you can write a soliloquy?), Lawrence and Chaucer (take it from me, life’s too short), but then I graduated onto easy reading like Bridget Jones’s Diary, Heat magazine, The Sun newspaper; you know, the stuff of culture. I guess time was an issue during my twenties. How could I possibly read when there were pubs to visit, pints to be drunk and kebabs to eat on the way home?

My Love of Reading Rediscovered

Anyway, believe it or not I have re-discovered reading and I absolutely bloody love it! To be lost in a book these days is sheer bliss. I can’t wait to get to bed at night (don’t even think about it), so that I can prop myself up and get stuck into a good book. The only problem is that four pages in and I’m asleep (when did I get so old?). I was also given a fabulous wee Kindle for my birthday, and so I will be able to sit on the beach this summer reading 50 Shades of Shit and no-one will think I’m a perv. Lovely.

Back to the Guest List

I digress. Quite a bit, let’s get back to the original brief. Now when I said I have got into reading again, I didn’t mention what genre – is thriller/spy tits and tinsel a genre? Anyway, Patricia Cornwell and Stella Rimington are my authors of choice at the moment. Cornwell writes atrociously. Her main body of work (for which she is globally –ahem – famous) is the Scarpetta series, which has spawned lots of formulaic novels starring Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner. Now the only problem with Scarpetta is that I have a love/hate relationship with her, mostly on the hate side actually because she is so feckin’ up herself (think I learnt that from Shakespeare). There is nothing this woman cannot do. She’s a master chef (even having her own spin off recipe books – yes, I know, a fictional character that writes cookery books?!), is good looking, stylish, loaded, has a handsome husband, is top of her game in the death business and can solve an entire case by looking at the fingernail on a corpse. I wouldn’t invite her to dinner; my God, what would you cook if a Delia equivalent was popping round to your gaff? And what would we talk about? How’s the job going? Who did you cut open today? She wouldn’t come even if I invited her and I’m buggered if I’m going to get a no thanks from a fictitious medical officer.

That leaves me with Liz Carlyle, the ‘spook’ from M15 created by – wait for it – Stella Rimington, former spook at M15. Liz is alright I suppose, but I can’t imagine we’d be doing tequila slammers and dancing to Kylie ‘til four in the morning.

The Final Invite

Looks like it’s a me party then. To be fair to myself, I do actually entertain Scarpetta, Carlyle and all their mates every other night, so I don’t think a night off with one of my other favourite dining companions is out of order – now where did I put that remote control?

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