Related to: 'Maurice'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Longest Journey

E M Forster
Authors:
E M Forster

Rickie Elliot, orphaned at the age of 15, finds his spiritual home at Cambridge and friendship in Ansell, the cerebral son of a grocer. Yet after university, Rickie's literary aspirations are set aside when he becomes infatuated with the beautiful yet materialistic Agnes Pembroke and begins teaching at a minor public school in order to marry her. It is a decision that causes Rickie to lose touch with his university friends and trade his philosophical ideals for a life of rigid conformity. As Agnes's true nature becomes increasingly apparent, family secrets are revealed that lead ultimately to tragedy.

Hodder & Stoughton

Where Angels Fear to Tread

E M Forster
Authors:
E M Forster

Hot-headed Lilia is seen as nothing but a vulgar source of embarrassment to her late husband's family, so her decision to embark on a year abroad in Tuscany is welcomed by her uptight and snobbish mother-in-law. Yet Lilia doesn't stay away from scandal long; her announcement that she is to marry the charismatic but ill-bred Gino is met with horror by the rest of the family. Their union ends in tragedy and violence as her English relatives confront their Italian counterparts, as well as their own cultural values, amidst the beauty of the Tuscan countryside.

Hodder & Stoughton

Aspects of the Novel

E M Forster
Authors:
E M Forster

ASPECTS OF THE NOVEL is a unique attempt to examine the novel afresh, rejecting the traditional methods of classification by chronology or subject-matter. Forster pares down the novel to its essential elements as he sees them: story, people, plot, fantasy, prophecy, pattern and rhythm. He illustrates each aspect with examples from their greatest exponents, not hesitating as he does so to pass controversial judgement on the works of, among others, Sir Walter Scott, Charles Dickens and Henry James. Full of Forster's renowned wit and perceptiveness, ASPECTS OF THE NOVEL offers a rare insight into the art of fiction from one of our greatest novelists.'His is a book to encourage dreaming.' Virginia Woolf

Hodder & Stoughton

A Room With a View

E M Forster
Authors:
E M Forster
Hodder & Stoughton

Howards End

E M Forster
Authors:
E M Forster

In Howards End Forster voiced many of his apprehensions about the future, and the novel has become more relevant than ever as a statement of humane, civilised values, while its subtle characterisation, its blend of irony and lyricism, its humour and its wealth of unobtrusive symbols, make it one of the great English novels. The story of two sisters - Margaret and Helen Schlegel - and their different paths in life was hailed by the critics as Forster's greatest work when it was first published in 1910. 'The word Forsterian is already demanded' wrote the Saturday Review, and the Daily Telegraph said '... all will feel with us that it is a book quite out of the common by a writer who is one of our assets, and likely to become one of our glories.'

Hodder & Stoughton

A Passage to India

E M Forster
Authors:
E M Forster

A Passage to India sparked such political fury that enraged Anglo-Indians threw copies into the Indian Ocean, while in England it helped create a climate of opinion which would take the British out of India in less than a generation.It won the Prix Femina Vie Heureuse and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and has sold over a million copies since its first publication in 1924.Adela Quested, visiting from England, shows an interest in Indian ways of life that is frowned upon by the British community. What happens to Adela at the infamous Marabar caves, and the subsequent ordeal of the charming young Dr Aziz, is wrought into a tense drama which throws Chandrapore into a fever of racial tension.

Alex Jennings

Alex Jennings is the reader of SELECTIONS FROM 1 & 2 SAMUEL (audio). He is a well-known and talented young actor. His theatre work for the RSC includes the lead in Hamlet and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing.

Baroness Orczy

Baroness Orczy was the daughter of a musician. Educated in Paris and Brussels, she then studied art in London, where she exhibited some of her work at the Royal Academy. THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL was the first success in her long writing career which encompassed both plays and novels.

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens, whose pen name was Boz, is regarded by many as one of the world's greatest authors. His father, a navy clerk, was - like the fathers in many of Dickens' novels - constantly in and out of debtor's prison, and Dickens was sent to work in a blacking factory at the age of twelve. His parents' failure to educate him was a source of great bitterness to him, and he reacted to this indifference by working incredibly hard for his entire life. Beginning as an office boy in a lawyer's office, in time he became a parliamentary reporter and then a journalist. He wrote The Pickwick Papers at the age of twenty-four, and captured the popular imagination in a way no other novelist had done previously. He continued writing and reading his works in public until his sudden death in 1870.

Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte, born in 1816, was the sister of Anne and Emily. All wrote famous novels; none lived beyond the age of forty. The sisters were educated at home, and began to write elaborate stories about imaginary kingdoms. Jane Eyre was published under the pseudonym of Currer Bell. Two other novels, Shirley and Villette were published in Charlotte's lifetime, and although all three achieved success at the time, she was regarded by some to have written too 'emotionally' and 'grossly' for a clergyman's daughter. She died in 1854, shortly after her marriage to her father's curate.

Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe's cutting works of satire are as well-loved today as they ever were.

Elizabeth Goudge

Elizabeth de Beauchamp Goudge was born on April 24th 1900 in Wells, Somerset, where her father was Principal of Wells Theological College. Although she had privately intended writing as a career, her parents insisted she taught handicrafts in Oxford. She began writing in her spare time and her first novel ISLAND MAGIC, set in Guernsey, was a great success here and in America. GREEN DOLPHIN COUNTRY (1944) projected her to fame, netting a Literary Guild Award and a special prize of £30,000 from Louis B. Mayer of MGM before being filmed.In her later years Elizabeth Goudge settled in Henley-on-Thames. She died on April 1st, 1984.

Jane Austen

Jane Austen was born in 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire, where her father was rector. When she was 25 the family moved to Bath till her father's death in 1805, then to Chawton in Hampshire where Jane lived with her mother and sister. She wrote six novels. Sense and Sensibility was first in 1811, then Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma(1816). Northanger Abbey and Persusaion were both published posthumously, in 1817. Jane Austen died in 1817. Well-received during her lifetime, since her death she has become known as not just one of the greatest writers of English fiction, but one of the most beloved.

Jurgen Wolff

Jurgen Wolff is a writer, teacher, NLP practitioner and the author of many books, including Your Writing Coach, Successful Scriptwriting (60,000 copies sold) Creativity Now!, Focus: the power of targeted thinking, Do Something Different as well as a dozen plays. A consistently successful screenwriter, Wolff has sat on the writing team on the hit TV series LOST and many other successful HBO projects. He has consulted to TV companies around the world (BBC, SKY, Columbia/Tri-Star)and written for newspapers including The Times. He holds creativity workshops around the world for organizations such as the Academy for Chief Executives, the University of Barcelona, the Pilots Programme, the Bertelsmann Foundation, film schools in Cologne, Berlin, and Munich, and many others. Born and educated in the US, Wolff now divides his time between London and California.

Laura Carlin

Laura Carlin left school at 16 to work in retail banking and it was only after leaving her job to write full-time that she discovered her passion for storytelling and exploring pockets of history through fiction. She lives in a book-filled house in beautiful rural Derbyshire with her family (and a very naughty cat). When she's not writing she enjoys walking in the surrounding Peak District. The Wicked Cometh is her first novel.

Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy was a champion of nonviolent protest. When he was two years of age his mother died, and when nine his father died. Tolstoy had a definitive set of ideas in regards to religion and philosophy. "Tolstoy condemned capitalism, private property, and the division of labour. Civilization in general he regarded as bad, emphasizing the need to make life as simple and primitive as possible." (Benet's.) His ideas led him into problems with his family, he was estranged from his family during the last of his life. Two of Tolstoy's most popular works are War & Peace and Anna Karenina.

Martin Clunes

Martin Clunes is one of Britain's favourite actors, the star of Doc Martin and the voice of Kipper the Dog. He lives in the West Country with his family and his dogs.

Michael Pennington

Michael Pennington is the reader of SELECTIONS FROM KINGS AND CHRONICLES (AUDIO). He is a well-known actor and writer whose roles have included Angelo and Hamlet and a major role in Crime and Punishment.

Miguel De Cervantes

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra lived an unsettled life of hardship and adventure. After studying in Madrid (1568-69), he took part in the sea battle at Lepanto (1571) and in 1575 he was captured by pirates. Cervantes spent five years as a slave until his family could raise enough money to pay his ransom. His first play, LOS TRATOS DE ARGEL (1580), was based on his experiences as a Moorish captive. During the next 20 years he led a nomadic existence, also working as a purchasing agent for the Spanish Armada and a tax collector. He suffered a bankruptcy and was imprisoned at least twice, and wrote DON QUIXOTE in prison.

Oscar Wilde

The Irish born Wilde, in 1871, attended Trinity College, Dublin; there he won a Berkeley Gold Medal for Greek, and was elected to a Queen's Scholarship. He went on to Oxford taking a scholarship at Magdalen. Writing plays, he captured a wide audience in England; his dialogue was marked with skill and ingenuity. He was a homosexual, and was tried and found "guilty" of it, and spent two years in prison at hard labour on account of it. In what turned out to be a very celebrated case, Wilde brought an abortive legal action in 1895 against the Marquis of Queensberry (Queensberry had objected to Wilde's association with his son Lord Alfred Douglas). He was exiled to Paris, there to die a broken man.