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pass me my micky mouse gas mask

To distract us all from the dreadful new Pope (more about whom later today, when my stomach stops sinking every time I hear his name), here's an interview with Connie Willis*, author of some of my favourite books. I was very pleased to hear that her forthcoming new Oxford time travel novel is well underway, but I thought it was very funny that she said that she was writing about elements of the war which people hadn't really written about before. Like what? "Evacuated children....small town boat owners rescuing soldiers from Dunkirk..." The hell? I mean, I'm sure these subjects are less well known in the US, but considering I must have read about 50 books about evacuees as a child, and Dunkirk is well, Dunkirk, they're hardly untouched mysteries which Willis has just unearthed.

*Thanks to Kivrin on Chicklit for the link


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 20th, 2005 10:14 am (UTC)
It hasn't been written about until an American's written about it, perhaps?
Apr. 20th, 2005 11:15 am (UTC)
Evacuated children are practically all that gets written about! Dunkirk perhaps slightly less so, but like you said, it's hardly a state secret. Unless she's going to write against the popular myth, and point out that only a small minorty of soliders were rescued by small town boat owners?
Apr. 20th, 2005 11:25 am (UTC)
Dunkirk's a little known event? Huh? Evacuated children aren't known of? How peculiar.

(In James Herriot's books - or possibly just the TV series - wasn't Tristan hoping he could get sent to Ireland for some reason so that he could have all the butter he wanted? Ireland! Land of plentiful 1940s dairy produce!)
Apr. 20th, 2005 02:10 pm (UTC)
I think Connie Willis is terribly US-centric, and I'm an American! It's always troubled me that To Say Nothing of the Dog is completely, obviously un-Britpicked, even though all the characters are from the UK. So I'm really not surprised she'd say something like that.

I find her very frustrating as a writer, in that I really love her characters and to some extent her plots, and her actual writing is very good, but there's something just not right -- something about not asking enough questions, or not looking beyond her own experience in the ways I'd like her to, or... something.
Apr. 20th, 2005 06:52 pm (UTC)
Can we set Nina Bawden on her? She's well scary.
Jul. 1st, 2005 10:57 am (UTC)
THANK YOU. i edit children's books and WWII UK books are, as we know, all about the evacuees.

you think nina is scary? why?
Jul. 1st, 2005 02:15 pm (UTC)
Her husband was killed in the Potter's Bar traincrash in 2002, and she has campaigned on behalf of the victims for an inquiry into what happened and changes of policy to ensure that it doesn't happen again. I've heard her being interviewed on the topic and she nearly took the interviewer's head off - and he was on her side! She's a bright, articulate, confident and angry woman, and she's very, very determined.
Jul. 1st, 2005 02:17 pm (UTC)
oh, i understand.

and i guess i should add that i actually knew all of this, because nina is a friend. she wrote a book about austen's death, called DEAR AUSTEN. harrowing. he was a remarkable man.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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