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Hi - ah yes, titles. To tell the truth, I like the title of the ms that my publisher will be scrutinising next month: Witness Outside the Circle. But I take it she doesn't. What do you think?

The synopsis goes like this:

'Ailsa Mullins is caught between a colonial past, with its British heritage, and the upheavals of a new world. She and her husband Robert, have arrived in Saigon as part of the Australian diplomatic corps in the 1960s. After years in far-flung settings of the world, this is the one that takes over their lives, and pose impossible questions to which there are no answers for Ailsa – and indeed for Vietnam itself – as the war unfolds.

         A country vicar’s daughter, Ailsa has a naïve loyalty to her husband Robert. Yet she develops an intense relationship, a hovering close to love and sensual desire, with Jack Maloof, a disillusioned journalist. Robert and Jack, too, develop a closeness and a shared obsession with this doomed war. The bond between the three is ambiguous but somehow enchanted; the bond between the men and the war is its own story of deadly fascination.

         This novel follows the logic of disintegration – of South Vietnam; of the high hopes of the bullish West; of the elegant yet peripheral life of the diplomatic corps; of Ailsa’s own certainties. 

This is an intimate epistolary novel of a woman’s innermost thoughts as the world she knows – or thought she knew – collapses around her.'

  • I think Outside the Circle would be better. It suggests exclusion or not quite belonging but still being able to see what's going on. I also thought of Outside Witness but that sounds like a crime novel.

    Ignore this idea if it doesn't help, Judy.

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    • Hi Libby, you might be right. It might be the original was unconsciously repetitive. Will now compile my list of alternatives so as to have it ready for the editorial critique! Thanks for that!

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    • I agree with Libby. You could also simply use WITNESS, although that may be too vague. It does pack a punch, I think.

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      • I'd love to use Witness - but it's been done already!

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