Monday, December 1, 2014

Louisa Treger

Born in London, Louisa Treger began her career as a classical violinist. She studied at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music, and worked as a freelance orchestral player and teacher.

Treger subsequently turned to literature, gaining a First Class degree and a PhD in English at University College London, where she focused on early twentieth century women’s writing. Married with three children, she lives in London.

Treger's new book, her first novel, is The Lodger.

Last month I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I have two books on the go at the moment, both completely different and both brilliant.

The first is We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. This novel is best read without any prior knowledge of the plot, so I’ll just say that it begins when Rosemary Cooke, the narrator, is 22, and gets arrested for throwing a glass of milk in her college canteen. Her sister vanished when she was 5, and she hasn’t seen her brother for 11 years, but she knows he is wanted by the FBI. The narrative keeps turning back on itself, disclosing through Rosemary’s memories the traumatic events that led to these absences. It is continually surprising, funny, tragic, complex and unsettling, exploring what it means to be human - and humane. I am nearly at the end, and I love it so much that I keep putting it away because I can’t bear to finish it – I know I’m going to feel utterly bereft when I do.

The second book is Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf: A Public of Two, by Angela Smith, an examination of the relationship between these fascinating authors. I knew they were rivals: Virginia Woolf once said that Katherine Mansfield’s was ‘the only writing I have ever been jealous of’. What I didn’t realise is that they had an intense friendship as well, sharing ‘a queer sense of being like’. Their writerly preoccupations mirrored each other’s, and they felt able discuss their ideas together in a way they couldn’t with anyone else. After Katherine died, Virginia wrote: ‘Still there are things about writing I think of & want to tell Katherine … I have the feeling that I shall think of her at intervals all through life. Probably we had something in common which I shall never find in anyone else.’

This intelligent and incisive book is full of lovely quotes from their fiction, letters and diaries. I particularly enjoyed those about writing, finding echoes of my own thoughts and ideas in them, only they expressed with great eloquence the things that I fumble to say. Such as: 'The English language is damned difficult but it’s also damned rich & so clear & bright that you can search out the darkest places with it’ Katherine Mansfield.
Visit Louisa Treger's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Lodger.

My Book, The Movie: The Lodger.

--Marshal Zeringue