Monday, March 3, 2014

Isla Morley

Isla Morley grew up in South Africa during apartheid, the child of a British father and fourth-generation South African mother. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband (a minister) and daughter and an assortment of animals. Her debut novel, Come Sunday was awarded the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction in 2009 and was a finalist for the Commonwealth Prize. It has been translated into seven languages.

Morley's new novel is Above.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Morley's reply:
I am reading C.S. Lewis – A Life by Alister McGrath which was a Christmas gift sent to me from my wonderful publisher in the U.K. We aren’t supposed to be swayed by book covers, but what about subtitles? This one is “Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet” – who can pass that up? It’s a fascinating, almost voyeuristic, look into his life, with notes about a hush-hush affair between the nineteen-year-old Lewis and his best pal’s mom, the forty-five year old Mrs. Moore. Also, there is discussion about Lewis’ “flagellant fantasies.” Lewis into S&M… who knew?

So far the biography reinforces my belief that hardship has its upside. A childhood marred by isolation when his older brother was shipped off to boarding school, by grief at his mother’s death and his father’s subsequent withdrawal, and by harsh treatment at the various schools he attended are part of what made Lewis eccentric and prophetic. Out of suffering come shoots of creativity and imagination, moments so transcendent that their brief sparks if not bathe a life with golden light at least sustain a lifelong quest for it.
Visit Isla Morley's website.

The Page 69 Test: Come Sunday.

--Marshal Zeringue