"I expect you’ll be becoming a schoolmaster, sir. That’s what most of the gentlemen does, sir, that gets sent down for indecent behaviour.” Evelyn Waugh, Decline and Fall
Posts tagged "fiction"
Scenes from a Troubles childhood

Scenes from a Troubles childhood

“Where do you get your ideas?” Or, to paraphrase, “You look like a pretty normal person to me, so where did all that come from?” It’s the baseline question, the one we’ve all been asked. Often, the questioner is really asking something more specific: “How much of your book is written from life?” or “Did...
Land of eternal spring

Land of eternal spring

I decided to write The Mastermind for two reasons. After publishing four novels set during different periods of Guatemala’s history, I wanted to see if I could write a book that dealt with an incident grounded in my birthplace’s contemporary reality. Secondly I was intrigued by the internationally reported 2009 Rodrigo Rosenberg case in which...
Heirlooms

Heirlooms

As a devourer of fiction, I tend to swallow untruths whole. If a story can hold my attention, if it can make me care deeply enough about its characters, then my disbelief becomes a feather which I will gladly suspend for as long as it takes to see them through their trials. So Gregor Samsa...
All true stories are fiction

All true stories are fiction

A few weeks ago, when I was in London to present my book about Moscow, I was asked – like many a debut author – how much of the story was based on my own experience. This was just after my first public reading, I was still shaken, and I blurted out a clumsy response...
Margaret Atwood: 'Rape Fantasies'

Margaret Atwood: ‘Rape Fantasies’

‘It’. Ten times in the first two paragraphs of Margaret Atwood’s classic ‘Rape Fantasies’, the chatterbox narrator, Estelle, avoids naming rape – plainly the topic she wants to address. And who is this Estelle? Oh, she’s quite the card, quite the jokester about rape, although she does take constant detours from her topic. So we...
Sunny Singh: Among the ruins

Sunny Singh: Among the ruins

Sunny Singh’s new novel Hotel Arcadia plunges readers into the midst of a terror attack in a 5-star hotel in an unnamed city. War photographer Sam, known for her haunting portraits of the recently dead, has picked the wrong place to wind down after her latest assignment, but can’t resist her impulse to document the...
Shouting at a river

Shouting at a river

Standing over a bassinet in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the early hours of Christmas Eve, 2002, I contemplated what the hell my first act as a father should be. My Miss Marie had been dragged into the world, with suction, only a few minutes before, and after flunking one Apgar test and remaining...
The untelling

The untelling

The early morning light filters through the empty bottles which clutter our caravan’s kitchen table. The light stains my nightdress with blotches of blue, green and red, and I lean over the back of a chair, waiting, breathing. The chair is a cast-off from Gil’s mother, and I see that on the vinyl seat there...
This scatter must be gathered

This scatter must be gathered

On the night of 8 June 2014, a pack of ten terrorists raided Karachi airport. They were well trained and equipped with an arsenal of grenades, suicide vests, a rocket launcher and automatic weapons. They broke through the airport security guised as security personnel. As the attack unfolded, I sat in disbelief in front of...