Here's a strange one. This week's New Yorker has a story by Tessa Hadley, a British novelist and short story writer. It's set in Bristol in the very early 1970s. It's about a 16 year old girl who becomes involved/infatuated/twin-like friend with a guy a couple of years older than herself, who's rebellious, who smokes a lot of dope, who's an intellectual in the making, who is also faintly mysterious, arrogant, and noxious. This could have been me in 1970 getting entangled with - well, with anyone who'd come across my path. The details are all there - I read it very slowly indeed - right down to the blue Formica kitchen counters. Sure, I lived in London, not Bristol, but my first job was in Bristol, in 1980, and the topography of this story is my topography; these are my streets.
It's a good story - the ending, or endings, is/are predictable, but then the endings of all such stories would be, in life as much as in fiction. So - why haven't I read more of Tessa Hadley, I thought? She's a name faintly out there somewhere on my radar, but I felt that I wanted to read more (when, of course, is a good question, but google/amazon procrastination is always fun). And what do I find, among other volumes by her? A novel called The Master Bedroom, with a (just-resigned) academic protagonist called Kate Flynn. What to make of this? Could she have borrowed my name? She read English at Cambridge: it's not completely improbable that she knows, somehow, of my existence. Or is it completely arrogant to think so? I feel as though this near-appropriation of my name is some kind of mild identity theft, and I'm decidedly confused (and, of course, will now have to read the book ...).