Friday, June 12, 2015

Robert Goddard

Robert Goddard is the Edgar Award–winning, internationally bestselling author of The Ways of the World; Long Time Coming; Into the Blue, which won the first WHSmith Thumping Good Read Award; and Past Caring. He teaches history at the University of Cambridge and lives in Cornwall.

Last month I asked Goddard about what he was reading. His reply:
Most of the time my reading is non-fiction research for my latest book, often historical, sometimes quite abstruse (because that’s where the real nuggets lie). I can’t say too much about it without revealing future plotlines, so maybe we should turn to my relaxation reading.

For that there are various trusted stand-bys, but the Para Handy stories of Neil Munro are always on my bedside table. There’s really no better way to close a day than by taking a brief voyage through West of Scotland waters with the crew of the Vital Spark, who manage to squeeze most of the quiddities and absurdities of the human condition into their sometimes terse but always (if unintentionally) hilarious exchanges.

For something a little more serious, profound even, the collection of Joseph Roth’s journalism What I Saw is perfect. Seeing, more deeply than most, was what he excelled at. That and writing about it.

The novel I’m reading at the moment, ideal because it rewards steady-paced, episodic consumption, is The Makioka Sisters by Tanizaki Junichiro, an extraordinary dissection of the apparently ordinary lives of four sisters in upper class Osaka just before the outbreak of the Pacific War, a shadow that hangs unmentioned over every word and action in the story. Tanizaki leads you slowly by the hand into the essence of what it was to be Japanese in the middle of the twentieth century.
Visit Robert Goddard's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Ways of the World.

The Page 69 Test: The Ways of the World.

--Marshal Zeringue