Thursday, March 10, 2011

Elizabeth Buchan

Elizabeth Buchan is the author of several highly acclaimed and bestselling books of fiction, including the bestselling Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman, The Good Wife Strikes Back, Everything She Thought She Wanted, and Consider the Lily.

Her latest novel is Separate Beds.

A few weeks ago I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
I am deep into Burying the Bones: Pearl Buck in China [US title: Pearl Buck in China: Journey to The Good Earth] by Hilary Spurling, a riveting biography of the author of The Good Earth which sold millions all over the world. The author’s evocation of China of the early 1900’s and its effect on the girl – an American who thought and dreamt in Chinese - as she struggled to find her place in the world, having been brought up in household of a fanatical missionary father is superb.

Anne Tyler’s poignant and truthful The Amateur Marriage also has kept me up late into the night. There is no one to beat her for observation, unsentimental tenderness and compassion. She is the great mapper of the ordinary human heart. In this story of marriage, which began in a blaze of hope and anticipation, the relationships are whittled away by the small, everyday chafing of personalities. Yet, even after it has reached its conclusion neither Michael nor Pauline are ever free of each other. As Muriel Spark once wrote: ‘relationships never end only novels do.’

I am about to embark on Hans Fallada’s Alone in Berlin, the story of man in Berlin during the war who is goaded into resistance to the Nazis. ‘Gripping’, ‘paced like a thriller’, a ‘masterpiece’… I have heard nothing but excellent reports of it and it is top of the pile. I am fascinated by the Second World War and wrote a novel about it and I know this one will be authentic and shattering.
Visit Elizabeth Buchan's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Separate Beds.

--Marshal Zeringue