Monday, March 27, 2023

Elizabeth Wein

Elizabeth Wein is the holder of a private pilot’s license and the owner of about a thousand maps. She is best known for her historical fiction about young women flying in World War II, including the New York Times bestselling Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire. Wein is also the author of Cobalt Squadron, a middle grade novel set in the Star Wars universe and connected to the 2017 release The Last Jedi. She lives in Scotland and holds both British and American citizenship.

Wein's new novel is Stateless.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I am reading Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence. What a project.

I have great admiration for the movie Lawrence of Arabia; I once visited Cloud Hill, Lawrence’s eccentric home in southern England, and wished it were mine. We have a thing in our family where when you buy a tin of sardines and crackers in a local grocery store and eat it on a hike, that is a “Lawrence of Arabia picnic.” But I’d never thought about reading Lawrence’s autobiographical account of his World War I experience fighting the Turks until recently, when some internet rabbit-hole led me to an auction advertising a signed first edition for £27,000 or something equally ridiculous, and I got curious about it and started poking around on the internet to find out more. I was fascinated to discover that Lawrence lost his original draft – a thousand pages long – by leaving it in a train station, and had to re-write the whole darn thing.

I was intrigued. I bought a much cheaper used paperback and am now about halfway through, on a regime of 25 pages a day. If you can make it through the first 50 pages or so of military strategy, the payoff is worth it for the plagues of snakes, insane heat, mining of railways, feasts of boiled sheep and camels, shocking deaths, and sudden hilarious pen-and-ink sketches (I was not expecting those!) that comprise most of the rest of the book.

I am not sure I’m learning anything useful, but it’s eye-opening and jaw-dropping entertainment.
Visit Elizabeth Wein's website.

My Book, The Movie: Stateless.

The Page 69 Test: Stateless.

--Marshal Zeringue