Sunday, December 4, 2016

Beatrice Colin

Beatrice Colin was born in London and lives in Glasgow, Scotland. A former arts and features journalist, she also writes novels for adults, children, short stories, radio plays for the BBC. She has spoken at numerous book festivals, taught at Arvon and was a judge and mentor for the Scottish Boom Trust's New Writers Award.

Colin was also once a singer in the band, April Showers, whose single, "Abandon Ship," reached the number 144 in the charts.

Her latest novel is To Capture What We Cannot Keep.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
Exposure (2016) by Helen Dunmore

I’m a big fan of Helen Dunmore and have been for years. I love her pared down, poetic prose and clever twists. I met her once at an event and we walked around Winchester Cathedral together. She impressed me further when she looked down at the 12th century Winchester Bible in its glass case and translated the Latin. Anyway, set in England in the 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, this novel explores what happens to a young family when caught up in the fringes of an espionage ring. Drawing links with the Jewish experience in Germany in the 1930s, it captures how easily the security of middle-class domesticity can be pulled from below and how one mother goes on to rebuild her life. Like all the best tales, this is a love story with lots of jeopardy, secrets and period detail thrown in along the way.

The Dark Room (2001) by Rachel Seiffert

I ordered this novel this after I saw the film, Lore (2012), which is based in one of the three interlinked stories that make up the book. While I liked the film, I was more far impressed by the prose. This story is set in Germany at the end of the second World War and follows the fate of four children and a baby whose parents are imprisoned for their association with the Nazi Party. Instructed by their mother to go to their grandmother’s house in Hamburg, the children cross the desolate landscape of post-war Germany moving from one occupied zone to the next. Like the other two stories, it’s beautifully written in a spare, vivid style, and looks at the legacy of German history, collective responsibility and residual guilt, without melodrama or blame.

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding (2015) by Jackie Copleton

The author is a friend and so I was looking forward to reading her debut novel about the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. Framed by the narrative device of a man arriving at the doorstep of an old woman’s house in America who may or may not be her grandson, the novel looks back at one family’s story leading up to the cataclysmic events of 1945. It’s an absorbing read, full of carefully drawn, authentic detail – Jackie lived in Japan for many years – that is both informative and moving. It isn’t just a love story, although it contains one, it’s a cross section of one family, revealing all the tensions and long buried secrets, the sacrifices and betrayals.
Visit Beatrice Colin's website.

My Book, The Movie: To Capture What We Cannot Keep.

--Marshal Zeringue