The other authors or books that have inspired me
I read so much, so many different genres, by so many different authors, so it’s almost impossible to select any one, two or three or four. But the following have been my most recent favourite reads :
- A SPOOL OF BLUE THREAD by Anne Tyler
- BLOOD AND BEAUTY by Sarah Dunant
- Richard Flanagan’s THE NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH
- And I will read anything by Susan Hill. Her First World War novel – STRANGE MEETING – is a particular favourite. If you had to read one novel about that particular time, that particular war, then that would be the one I would recommend.
- THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY by Rachel Joyce
- THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS by M.L. Stedman
But it was Meg Rossoff’s HOW I LIVE NOW, a young adult/adult crossover, which I picked out on an adult shelf, which really opened my eyes to young adult writing. It was so true, so keenly honest, I found it quite shocking, even upsetting. Which was the last thing I expected in young adult fiction.
And, young adult and children’s writer, David Almond, author of SKELLIG, KIT’S WILDERNESS and THE FIRE EATERS. Such beautiful, visual, almost poetic writing.
But it was Marghanita Laski’s THE VICTORIAN CHAISE-LONGUE, a book given to me many, many years ago by my mother, which really helped when I was writing the slips, from one life to another, in WE’VE COME TO TAKE YOU HOME.
As the blurb on the back of my Penguin 1962 edition says ‘In this short, eerie novel … a young mother who is recovering from tuberculosis falls asleep on a Victorian chaise-longue and is ushered into a waking nightmare of death amongst strangers.’
Victoria Hislop, author of the recently published ‘The Sunrise’, about two families from opposing side in Cyprus in 1972, was asked to list the ‘books she loves and have brought lasting pleasure.’ Along with A SPOOL OF BLUE THREAD’, was Michael Cunningham’s THE HOURS plus Ian McEwan’s ON CHESIL BEACH, both of which I’ve read and really enjoyed. But also listed was CAIN by Jose Saramago – ‘… he rewrites the Old Testament in a clever, witty and subversive way. He’s unafraid to challenge religious belief and I hugely admire him for this.’ Definitely next on my must-read list!