1958

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Fanfiction
Title: 1958, After-Dinner Drinks, Morning After
Author(s): Laura Mason (lorie945)
Date(s): "1958": 7 April 2005
"After-Dinner Drinks": 27 January 2007
"Morning After": 7 March 2007
Length: in toto: 11,005 words
Genre: sequel
Fandom: Mary Renault
External Links: "1958", "After-Dinner Drinks", "Morning After"

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Contents

"1958" is a three-part novelette by Laura Mason based on Mary Renault's 1953 novel The Charioteer. It takes place in 1958, eighteen years after the time of the novel.

Laurie and Ralph are visiting Paris. Out of the blue, they run into Andrew, who has been living there for years, and old emotions are stirred.

The first part of the story, "1958", focuses on Ralph, Laurie, and Andrew, and their initial reaction to encountering each other after so many years. The second and third parts layer complications on complications. Unlike "1958" itself, "After-Dinner Drinks" introduces several original characters in its exploration of Andrew's life in Paris in the years since the war. The final part, "Morning After", brings some resolution to the emotional conflict as the three men finally talk to each other with some degree of frankness.

Posting History

The first part of the story, simply entitled "1958", was written two years before the continuation. During that period, therefore, it was treated as complete, since it comes (or seems to come) to a natural conclusion.

According to the author's notes, "1958" was written in response to a sort of semi-challenge:

Set post-novel, as the title indicates, this is an answer to the question that was recently raised on the community by century_plant about what happens after the final paragraph. I really enjoyed reading everyone's opinions, and then one of the mods, baranduin, suggested that it would be a lovely fic challenge. Evidently no one has to ask me twice (or even make it official).

Although "After-Dinner Drinks" was not posted for nearly two years, it is headed by a note that indicates that it was started just after "1958" was posted and left unfinished in the interim. It follows that "1958" was presumably never originally intended to be complete in itself, though taken as such by readers at the time it was posted. By contrast, although lorie945 said in response to a comment by slipperieslope, "The sequel is barely a glimmer in my pea-brain at this point,"[1], it was obvious that "After-Dinner Drinks" was incomplete. The final part was posted a few months later. Its title in the post, "1958: Morning After", indicates that the three parts should, in fact, be taken to comprise a single work.

In response to a reader's comment, lorie945 posted the following:

You know, the main reason this story languished on my hard drive for years was I worried everyone would think I was doing character-assassination of poor Andrew.

And yes, Angst-R-Us!

The first part, "1958" itself, was beta-read by oleander9999 and matan4il. The continuation was posted unbeta'ed.

Reader Response

"1958" itself, the first part of the story, inspired a reader living in Paris, shezan, to offer a detailed description of the city as it was in the 1950s. This was illustrated with quite a number of photographs.[2]

Among the shorter comments to "1958", the following are also of interest:

  • "You put it up! I only had time for one read through, and I am still digesting it, but it's beautiful! I just knew Laurie and Andrew encountering each other again would bring out this painful and heartbreaking insecurity in Ralph." — comment by cyberducks
  • "I loved this; you are amazing. I don't know where to begin to tell you everything I loved. Everyone was so in character--or at least in character for how they'd conceivably be by that point in time." — comment by mysid
  • "[...] This was such a beautifully crafted story, Lorie. I was just mesmerized reading it. ANd you got the feel of the story-telling, the dialogue for the characters, the "everything" so right. This wasn't just Laurie, Ralph, and Andrew. It was a Mary Renault story. And it was so Good! [,,,]." — comment by hanarobi

"After-Dinner Drinks" elicited the following comments, among others:

  • "How wonderful and psychologically compelling. [...]" — comment by aprilkat
  • "Andrew is a fascinating character, so full of confusion and denial. I could feel how tightly wound he was, and how miserable because he couldn't admit who he was and who he loved. All the characters are so well-drawn. And that kiss surprised me so, in a good way. But, oh, my, what's going to happen now?." — comment by mews1945
  • "Compared to your other stories, I didn't like this one very much. It's wonderfully written, and it's a fascinating look at Andrew, and it's all very possible. However, it just clashes too much with my view of Andrew. I don't see Andrew at the end of TC being this much of an innoncent, being this in denial." — comment by mysid

The conclusion of the story, "Morning After" elicited the following comments, among others:

  • "Given that I was one of the people (the person?) with serious questions about the nature of Andrew's character in "After-Dinner Drinks," let me just say that this sequel answers those questions wonderfully.." — comment by mysid
  • "These three stories together are very cathartic for me." — comment by slipperieslope

References

  1. Response made by lorie945 on 2007-01-28 at 08:47 pm to a comment by slipperieslope, made 2007-01-28 at 01:47 pm (accessed 14 August 2011).
  2. Sadly, the illustrations to shezan's description of Paris are no longer available on the site (accessed 14 August 2011).
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