Related to: 'Howards End'

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

Maurice

E M Forster
Authors:
E M Forster
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
Hodder & Stoughton

A Room With a View

E M Forster
Authors:
E M Forster

Set partly in Florence, partly in the Surrey hills, A ROOM WITH A VIEW depicts the struggle for the soul of its enchanting heroine, Lucy Honeychuch. Forster's brilliant social comedy examines the English abroad and at home in the country as Lucy's sincere and passionate feelings are contrasted with her prudish cousin Charlotte, her supercilious fiancé and the unconventional Emersons.A Room with a View, originally published in 1908, was made into a Merchant/Ivory film starring Denholm Elliot, Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham-Carter, Judi Dench and Daniel Day Lewis.

Hodder & Stoughton

A Passage to India

E M Forster
Authors:
E M Forster

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.

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.

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.

Pamela Hansford Johnson

Pamela Hansford Johnson was born in 1912. As a novelist, she gained recognition with her first novel, This Bed Thy Centre, published in 1935. She then went on to write 26 more novels throughout her life, ranging in genre from romantic and high comedy to tragedy, and the psychological study of cruelty, with themes centred around the moral responsibility of the individual in their personal and social relations. She was also a well-respected critic, a leading Proustian scholar, an essayist, a playwright, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a CBE. She died in 1981.

Richard Bachman

In his 'lifetime', Richard Bachman published five novels. A sixth, THE REGULATORS, was published after he died of pseudonym cancer (a relatively painless way to go) in 1985. He developed a cult following both before and after his death. Two of his novels (THINNER and THE RUNNING MAN) were made into motion pictures. BLAZE--both brutal and sensitive--is his final legacy. The last of the Bachman novels, written in 1973 and published for the first time. Stephen King's 'dark half' may have saved the best for last.

Stephen King

Stephen King is the author of more than sixty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Sleeping Beauties (co-written with his son Owen King), the short story collection The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, the Bill Hodges trilogy End of Watch, Finders Keepers, and Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel, and shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger Award). Many of King's books have been turned into celebrated films, television series and streamed events including The Shawshank Redemption, Gerald's Game and It.King is the recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Arts and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.