Her Stones for my Father follows 12-year-old Coraline Roux through the darkest days of the Anglo-Boer War: from the sacking of her family’s farm, to a trek across the battle-scarred Transvaal, to internment in a British concentration camp. Scattered throughout are moments of quiet beauty, including a figure of hope who emerges in the form of a Canadian soldier.
Her reply to my recent query about what she was reading:
I’m a huge Nadine Gordimer fan – I have been ever since we read ‘Once Upon a Time’ in school – so I was thrilled when the trade magazine that I write for sent me an early copy of her Life Times: Stories 1952-2007. It’s a great doorstop of a book, but I’m still rationing out the stories to last as long as possible!Read more about Stones for My Father at the publisher's website, and visit Trilby Kent's Red Room Writer Profile.
My current novel of choice is Manja by Anna Gmeyner, which has been reissued by the delightful Persephone Books and tells the story of five children living in Germany in the 1930s. It’s a period of history that I find endlessly fascinating (my own novel, Smoke Portrait, is set in 1936 and deals with many of the same themes) and I’m enjoying it enormously.
For non-fiction, it has to be A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor. I actually got this as a Christmas present for my husband, as we’d managed to catch snippets of the excellent BBC Radio 4 series and the British Museum is often one of our go-to options for a rainy afternoon. Some of the selected objects are wonderfully surprising: from a 5,000 year-old sandal label to a suffragette-defaced penny. This is the book that I keep to hand whenever I feel the need to put off work for just a few more minutes…
The Page 69 Test: Stones for My Father.