This publishing initiative brings together the uniqueness of the novella and various memorable classic movies from the history of cinema.
The word ‘novella’ comes from the Italian for ‘novel.’ It has been interpreted in various ways including ‘a long short story’ or a ‘short novel’. It can be traced back to the early renaissance in Italy and France. Giovanni Boccaccio wrote ‘The Decameron’ in 1353. This comprises 100 tales of ten people fleeing the black death. It was not until the 18th and 19th centuries that the novella emerged as a literary genre.
Until recently, most modern novellas were published by Penguin Modern Classics. The various novella prizes seem to stipulate a word count of between 7,500 and 40,000.
A key feature of the novella is its limited punctuation. There are no chapter headings and no breaks apart from spaces where the author needs to show a change of scene and/or time.
City Fiction has now created its innovative Novella Nostalgia series wherein iconic films inspire modern stories.
The first, ‘Lunch with Harry’, pays tribute to one of the great films produced by Hollywood. Made in 1961, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ was based on the novella written by Truman Capote. It produced a mesmeric performance by Audrey Hepburn. The modern tale is transferred to London and features the charismatic Ella van Houten and Harry, who is guilt-ridden following the death of his wife. They meet in Regent Street in unusual circumstances. Their growing relationship parallels their search for a model of the Mexican general, Santa Anna, who burned ‘The Alamo’ to the ground.
The second, ‘Twelve Troubled Jurors’, published early in 2017, has echoes of ‘12 Angry Men’ which gave the film world one of Henry Fonda’s greatest performances. The updated story tells of the trial of a fraudster and the convoluted divisions amongst the jury until one member takes over to engineer a surprise verdict.
This was followed by ‘Forever on Thursdays’ which hints at the unforgettable British film ‘Brief Encounter’. The love affair between Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard remains an icon in film history.
In its updated form, the unhappy Carey meets the compelling Mark and, in doing so, not only writes her first novel but finds the man with whom she will spend the rest of her life.
The fourth novella, ‘The Man Who Hated’, launches the odious Milton Grant who begins a self-imposed mission to hit back at what he perceives to be human faults.
It was inspired by the 1993 film, ‘Falling Down’ starring Michael Douglas.
The above novellas are all written by Tony Drury, the author of the DCI Sarah Rudd Detective series.
In October 2018, City Fiction has published the first novella by a solicitor come writer, Oliver Richbell. He and Tony worked together on ‘Twelve Troubled Jurors’.
The fifth in the Novella Nostalgia series, ‘Gloriana’, written by Oliver, takes its theme from the 2008 Tom Cruise film, ‘Valkyrie’ and the conspiratorial plot to kill Adolf Hitler. In the updated version a committee of conspirators intend to reverse the result of the Brexit referendum by killing The Prime Minister.
November 2018 sees ‘A Search for the Truth’’ by Tony Drury. This controversial novella is inspired by the 1947 film, ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’, starring Gregory Peck. This examines anti-Semitism in post-Second World War America. The modern story features Lily, an undergraduate, who must write a dissertation titled ‘To Define a Jew’. She not only discovers the complex world of Judaism but faces deciding on one of two suitors both of whom might transform her life.
In early 2019, Oliver Richbell returns with ‘The Courageous Witness’, based on the 1988 American drama, ‘The Accused’ starring Jodie Foster and telling of a horrendous gang rape at an office party. Oliver updates the story and introduces Amanda Buckingham, a barrister who is destined for a brilliant legal career. Further stories from ‘The Amanda Buckingham Series’ will follow charting her meteoric rise.