Hello! Welcome to my stop in #TheWhiteTower blog tour! I have the lovely Cathryn on the blog today with a guest post for you guys about her Top 5 Books that fire up her imagination!
I love a realist novel as much as the next person, especially when it’s written by Tolstoy (or Vasily Grossman). But there are times when you want a bit of literary diversison and a book that skews your assumptions about the world. Children can find plenty of alternative versions of the world they live in: for adults it is a little harder to find books which present the world in a different way and yet don’t topple into magical realism. I’m not going to mention Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita as I presume everyone will know it (although I love it not for the talking cat or the cream that can make you fly, but for the portrait of Pontius Pilate and the notion that two millennia of Christianity was brought about by a migraine) but instead here are some of the books I’ve read that have made me think about the world a little differently.
1. The City and the City, China Mieville
I’ve only just started reading Mieville and, I can’t put The City and the City down. I’m not sure if it will add up to anything by the end, but the concept – two cities which don’t acknowledge the other in any way – and the nod to Bruno Schulz in its Eastern European flavour is giddy-making.
2. Metropole, Ferenc Karinthy
Written in 1970, this Hungarian novel wasn’t translated into English until 2008. I’m a sucker for translated fiction and this one is deliciously unnerving and thought-provoking. A linguist travelling to a conference in Helsinki falls asleep on a plane and wakes up in the wrong city. Despite speaking several languages, he cannot communicate with anyone but the beautiful lift attendant of his hotel; nor can he fathom the customs of the country.
3. The Rabbit Back Literature Society, Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen
Ella, the heroine of this Finnish novel, is chosen to become the tenth member of a prestigious writers’ group in the small town of Rabbit Back. Presided over by the enigmatic Laura White, membership involves playing ‘The Game’. This is an entirely surprising, anarchic, and touching novel.
4. The Adjacent, Christopher Priest
I’ve picked this novel almost at random because every novel I have read by Christopher Priest has been wonderful. I find myself almost reading off the page, I’m so delighted at what he both explains and withholds. This one is about alternative realities. Yes please.
5. Journey by Moonlight, Antal Szerb
I love Antal Szerb, it really is that simple. Every word he’s ever written (and sadly there aren’t enough as he was a casualty of the Holocaust). A man takes a walk at night through the backstreets of Venice and Szerb insists that we accompany this accidental hero on his surprising and sometimes dangerous journey. One of those perfect novels.
Thanks for a wonderful post, Cathryn! I cannot wait to dive into The White Tower!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After reading Theology at Cambridge University, Cathryn Constable went on to
work in magazine journalism, writing for Vogue, W, Elle, The Independent, Tatler
and The Sunday Times, before realising her dream of writing stories for children.
Cathryn is married with three children and lives in London.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Alchemy meets dreamy reality in this new atmospheric adventure from the
author of the bestselling debut, The Wolf Princess.
The White Tower is the uplifting and magical story of Livy, a young girl lost in
throws of grief and forced to move schools. Struggling to cope with life, Livy
finds solace high up on the rooftop amongst the domes and spires of her new
home. With the perfect blend of science and dreamy reality, Constable paints a
rich and atmospheric story of a lonely girl coming to terms with the death of her
best friend and finding a way to let go of her pain.
Cathryn Constable’s debut novel, The Wolf Princess, was one of the bestselling
debuts of 2012. It swept the board with gorgeous reviews and was shortlisted for
the Waterstones Children's Book Prize and the Specsavers National Book Awards.