Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jennifer Robson

Jennifer Robson is the international bestselling author of Somewhere in France.

She holds a doctorate in British economic and social history from Saint Antony’s College, University of Oxford, where she was a Commonwealth Scholar and an SSHRC Doctoral Fellow.

Robson's new novel is After the War is Over.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I tend to have a number of books on the go at the same time, a mix of things I’m reading for research, for pleasure and for general brain-stretching purposes. At the moment I have four books on my nightstand.

I’m actually re-reading Living Well is the Best Revenge by Calvin Tomkins, an extended, novella-length version of a New Yorker profile of Sara and Gerald Murphy that was first published in 1962. Tomkins was friends with the Murphys, who had been at the center of literary and artistic life in France in the early 1920s, and his portrayal of them is so fascinating and appealing that I’ve added them to my work-in-progress as secondary characters.

I just finished Memoirs of Montparnasse by John Glassco, although I bought it months and months ago. Glassco, a Canadian poet who landed in Paris in the late 1920s, had an almost Zelig-like ability to be at the center of things. At times, reading his memoir, it seems as if he went absolutely everywhere and met everyone worth knowing. I have to admit I’m a little envious!

I’ve had A History of Food in 100 Recipes by William Sitwell sitting on my nightstand for more than a year; I save it for those evenings when I’m too tired to read anything lengthy but still want a few minutes of quiet time before I turn off the light. Its format is perfect for short forays: one hundred shorts essays on foods or dishes that have shaped our world and its history. I’m getting close to the end, though – up next is a World War II-era recipe for Elderberry and Apple Jam.

Last of all is Hazel Gaynor’s forthcoming novel, A Memory of Violets, which she was kind enough to send to me a few months before it lands in bookstores. I am loving it. Hazel has a remarkably perceptive eye for historical detail; as with her previous book, The Girl Who Came Home, this novel is amazingly immersive. I am counting the hours until my kids are asleep tonight and I can steal an hour of “me” time to get back to it!
Visit Jennifer Robson's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Jennifer Robson & Ellie.

My Book, The Movie: After the War Is Over.

The Page 69 Test: After the War Is Over.

--Marshal Zeringue