Meanwhile, the second novel splutters along. My young hero is back in Australia, bursting to to return to India but unexpectedly delayed. I'm not sure how things will end. My mentor told me that the novelist, Richard Ford (Canada, The Sportswriter etc) plants a flag (mentally) somewhere in the far distance and his task is to take his story towards that flag. I don't seem to work that way. At least not yet.
Speaking of novels, recently read Drusilla' Modjeska's The Mountain. Complex but interesting especially for lovers of Papua New Guinea. I read it on Kindle and got a bit lost with which character was which, and whose voice was speaking. But it is worth hanging in. The interactions, assumptions and cultural issues between the indigenous people and the Europeans is handled adroitly, and there is a real smell of PNG permeating the pages.
Also skimmed through a biography of the nurse, Edith Cavell, executed by the Germans in WW1. Not often have women written war-based books, and Diana Souhami gives a matter-of-fact statistical backdrop to the evolving drama of Cavell's involvement in the Belgian resistance, and ultimate fate. Understated and powerful.
Chris Cleave writes of more contemporary events. Daniele saw him at the Brisbane Writer's Festival and was impressed. He spoke of the redemptive element in his novels - an approach that I applaud. Too much fiction is tough going, unending heaviness and deflating endings. Cleave's Gold - a tale of two competing female cyclists - is dramatic and captures the conflicted emotions extremely well. Central to the story is Sophie, the young daughter, who is being treated for leukemia. This book could have disappeared up itself in pathos but refuses to do so. I am now moved to read Cleave's earlier novels.