Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Justin D’Ath

Justin D’Ath is the author of over 20 books for children and young adults.

Of his latest novel Pool, Sue Bursztynski wrote in Janaury Magazine: "Longtime fans of Justin D’Ath, who have grown up with his books, should enjoy this one, and new readers will be happy to discover him."

A few days ago I asked D’Ath what he was reading. His reply:
Paradise, by Scottish writer A.L. Kennedy. “Hannah Luckraft knows the taste of paradise. It’s hidden in the peace of open country, it’s sweet on her lover’s skin, it flavours every drink she’s ever taken, but it never seems to stay…” So runs the blurb of this extraordinary novel which takes you inside the mind, heart and skin of an alcoholic. I’m finding it an uncomfortable read because, despite her many flaws, Hannah is a sympathetic character, but she’s on a downward self-destructive spiral that can only end badly. The scene where Hannah visits her elderly mother and neither woman can express what she’s feeling because a third party is present is perhaps one of the most poignant pieces of writing I’ve ever encountered.

I confess I’m on a bit of an A.L. Kennedy binge at the moment, having recently read her Whitbread Award winning novel Day, then her strangely hypnotic Bliss. But after Paradise I’m going to give her a rest for a while. It would be a shame to read her entire canon in one go, and it’s always nice to have a favourite author to go back to.

Two other outstanding novels I’ve read this year (2008) are Falling Man by Don DeLillo (perhaps the most powerful post 9/11 novel so far) and The Darling by Russell Banks (takes you into war-torn Liberia through the eyes of a female protagonist). And the best book I read last year: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.

Visit Justin D’Ath's website.

--Marshal Zeringue