Recommended: “Bequest” and “Searching for Von Honningsbergs”, by Rowena Wiseman

Recently I’ve been looking again at Wattpad, the unparalleled platform for free online fiction. While most of what I’ve seen falls in the category of “really really cheesy” (can Melissa truly find happiness in the arms of hunky Matt?), I have also come across some excellent fiction. One such work is the short novel “Bequest”, by Rowena Wiseman. I first came across this interesting Australian author on Google Plus (of all places – who discovers anything on Google Plus?) but it was on Wattpad that I found this story and devoured it. It is the story of an old man who has had his entire body covered in tattoos, all the work of an artist known as X. She no longer does tattoo work, but has come into her own as a world-famous artist. She and Leonard were once close, but she no longer has any interest in him or his body.

This story comes to life in the same way the tattoos on Leonard’s body come to life, in vivid, hallucinatory passages. Leonard wants nothing more than to leave his literal “body of work” to a museum, but nobody wants it, as nobody wants him either, or wants to hear about the strange things that have started happening to him. The story also doubles as the story of an old man no longer valued by the very people he values most, the people to whom he is “connected like electricity”. I loved how the form of the story is in itself a mirror of the story, its elements step out in turn just as the individual tattoos take the stage one by one. An excellent story, highly recommended.

You can find it here on Wattpad

I’m now reading, and loving, her novel “Searching for Von Honningsbergs”, which I also recommend. You can get it for one dollar at and you should. It’s the story of an artist who travels in search of works of another artist for an exhibition, and along the way describes his own paintings inspired by the events on her trip – it’s very very funny and interesting. It’s reminding me a little of my own story ‘Fixture‘, which is about a sculptor and tells the story partly through describing his works. I know it was a great structure in which to work as a writer, and Rowena makes the most of it in her novel.


3 thoughts on “Recommended: “Bequest” and “Searching for Von Honningsbergs”, by Rowena Wiseman

  1. Thanks Tom, I must admit I struggled to connect with Wattpad. The download figures for some of the works are truly staggering, but I never reached those heights and always felt outnumbered by the teen authors who probably consider romance between middle aged characters to be sick..I’ll be sure to check out Bequest, and maybe I should have another look at Wattpad.


    • I don’t have high hopes for it, but giving it another try. A fun writer I found there yesterday is Sean Benham. There seem to be at least some potential needles in the haystack! I’m glad to see all these kids writing, even if most of it is terrible. It’s like doing your piano lessons in public.


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