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First let me say how very much I enjoyed both your books. You write about the complexities of the human condition with elegance and deceptive simplicity. I find that I'm always stopping to think about something you've just said so that they take an unusually long time to read.

I have been thinking a lot about your "Most necessary tis that we forget to pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt quoteation" . You seem to be saying that Hamlet shouldn't have avenged his father as doing so only brought about more deaths. Would I be right in thinking that you prefer the forgiveness of the Tempest to the revenge of Hamlet?
John Jacobs

Salley Vickers writes: I don't know that I 'prefer' THE TEMPEST, although it is a great play - but I do think the tragedy of Hamlet is his failure to see that there was another way than the ghost's call for revenge. In that sense, Hamlet is a lesson to all of us in that he squanders his own better instincts to pursue a pointless revenge, against the seeming dictates of his own nature. In INSTANCES OF THE NO.3 I was attempting a kind of comic reversal of HAMLET, in that the initiating visitation is from a ghost who is himself guilty, and forgiveness rather than revenge becomes the reconciling 'theme' of the book. In that sense it has more of the mood of THE TEMPEST but that sounds grandiose - I didn't plan it like that, as with everything I have written so far, it wrote itself that way.

Dear Ms Vickers,
Bravo! A witty book about sexuality, life, death and the power of the human consciousness to alter 'reality'. You should have won the Booker with this -
Regards, J.P.Wren.

This is a terrific book: I couldn't stop reading it and I particularly admire your cool elegant prose. Thank you for giving so much pleasure and depth of understanding.
Yours, Peter Walsh

Salley
Please forgive informal address but I feel, having read your two books I know you. I loved 'Miss Garnet' but almost more your 'Instances of the No. 3' The former made me FEEL - the latter made me THINK. It is so full of ideas and thoughts to meditate on. I love your concept of forgiveness. More please! -
Anne

Dear Ms. Vickers,
'Instances of he Number 3' was an initial disappointment to me after 'Miss Garnet's Angel'. Then I began to reflect on 'Hamlet', went back to the play re-read it and came to the conclusion that this is an even deeper book than your first. Well done! May we know when you will be producing another? You have so many eager fans.
Yours, Derek Harwood

Dear Salley Vickers,
Can you help me? Am I right that Zahin is an instrument of enlightenment? At first reading he appears the embodiment of evil. Then I felt he was the reason the Peter came to understand his own weakness and folly and must therefore be an instrument of good. Is that right? It seems to me that a la Iris Murdock you are writing contemporary books about good and evil. Thank God someone is!
Best Wishes, Eric Airey

Salley Vickers writes: Yes - I am interested in the way we cannot predict what influences will lead us towards good or evil. Zahin is an ambiguous (in many senses) catalyst figure.

Salley
I love Bridget what a character! I read a review which said she was 'hard' how daft can you get? She's a real woman who is brave enough to face her weaknesses and grow. How many of us dare do that? Stan and Painter are also great characters.
Diana Cope

Dear Miss Vickers,
I thought at first I would not enjoy this one as much as 'Miss Garnet' but having finished it I have come to the conclusion it is a much deeper book but one which takes reflection to fully comprehend (I don't know that I have fully understood it yet). I wonder if reviewers nowadays simply don't have time to digest original ideas and say any flip thing which comes into their heads. I read a very silly one in the Guardian which used the word 'cute' which is not a term I could ever imagine using of your elegant understated writing and can't see how anyone could. More please like this. There are readers out here who like and want profundity and are not embarrassed by it.
Best Wishes, Daniel Keating

Very glad you had the courage to write about this topic in your new book.
Chris White

Thank you for this very engaging story of triangles. There are so many ideas it takes time to take them all in but I loved the ghost and the 'Hamlet' refs.
Yours, Anne Broome

Dear Salley
I hope you don't mind my asking but are you a practising Christian?
You write so deeply about theological matters and yet it is hard to detect what your own beliefs are. Obviously, don't reply if you don't wish to.
Margot

P.S. I love your writing too. It is so simple but so mellifluous. Thank you

Salley Vickers writes: I don't really want to discuss my own beliefs other than to say that I don't believe that man is the measure of all things and that there exist other dimensions beyond the human

Please will you tell us when your NEXT book is out. We can't wait!
Susan and Dave Whitman

Salley Vickers replies: I am finishing it right now - I hope it will be out early next year.


 
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