Related to: 'Crossing The Lines'

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.

Sceptre

The Hired Man

Melvyn Bragg
Authors:
Melvyn Bragg
Sceptre

A Place in England

Melvyn Bragg
Authors:
Melvyn Bragg

Joseph Tallantire has hope and ambition - like his father before him he is determined to make something of himself and improve his lot. But life is not easy for an uneducated young man in Cumberland before and during World War II, and Joseph's struggle against the odds is the subject of this moving and evocative novel. Suffering hardship and humiliation but eventually achieving a position of some independence, Joseph serves as a tribute to the many like him who lived through one of Britain's periods of greatest social change.(P) 2015 Hodder & Stoughton

Sceptre

Kingdom Come

Melvyn Bragg
Authors:
Melvyn Bragg

Douglas Tallentire has at last achieved what his father and grandfather before him fought for so bitterly. Educated and independent, he can carve out his own career and spread his wings. But success, freedom and happiness are more elusive than ever in the fiercely competitive Seventies. From Cumbria to the frenetic whirl of sophisticated life in New York and London, Douglas, like all the Tallentires, must come to terms with private uncertainty and pain.(P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton

Sceptre

Now is the Time

Melvyn Bragg
Authors:
Melvyn Bragg

In this gripping novel, Melvyn Bragg brings an extraordinary episode in English history to fresh, urgent life.At the end of May 1381, the fourteen-year-old King of England had reason to be fearful: the plague had returned, the royal coffers were empty and a draconian poll tax was being widely evaded. Yet Richard, bolstered by his powerful, admired mother, felt secure in his God-given right to reign.Within two weeks, the unthinkable happened: a vast force of common people invaded London, led by a former soldier, Walter Tyler, and the radical preacher John Ball, demanding freedom, equality and the complete uprooting of the Church and state. They believed they were rescuing the King from his corrupt ministers, and that England had to be saved. And for three intense, violent days, it looked as if they would sweep all before them.Now is the Time depicts the events of the Peasants' Revolt on both a grand and intimate scale, vividly portraying its central figures and telling an archetypal tale of an epic struggle between the powerful and the apparently powerless.

Sceptre

Grace and Mary

Melvyn Bragg
Authors:
Melvyn Bragg
Sceptre

The Hired Man

Melvyn Bragg
Authors:
Melvyn Bragg
Sceptre

The Maid of Buttermere

Melvyn Bragg
Authors:
Melvyn Bragg

Melvyn Bragg's highly acclaimed and bestselling historical novel, the story behind one of the 19th century's greatest scandals.Set in the Lake District in the early 19th century, the riveting story of an imposter, bigamist and fortune hunter who came to grief by falling helplessly in love with the famed 'Maid of Buttermere'.

Sceptre

Time To Dance

Melvyn Bragg
Authors:
Melvyn Bragg
Sceptre

A Place in England

Melvyn Bragg
Authors:
Melvyn Bragg
Sceptre

The Soldier's Return

Melvyn Bragg
Authors:
Melvyn Bragg
Sceptre

Kingdom Come

Melvyn Bragg
Authors:
Melvyn Bragg

Douglas Tallentire has at last achieved what his father and grandfather before him fought for so bitterly. Educated and independent, he can carve out his own career and spread his wings. But success, freedom and happiness are more elusive than ever in the fiercely competitive Seventies. From Cumbria to the frenetic whirl of sophisticated life in New York and London, Douglas, like all the Tallentires, must come to terms with private uncertainty and pain.

Hodder & Stoughton

12 Books That Changed The World

Melvyn Bragg
Authors:
Melvyn Bragg
Hodder & Stoughton

The Book of Books

Melvyn Bragg
Authors:
Melvyn Bragg
Hodder & Stoughton

The South Bank Show: Final Cut

Melvyn Bragg
Authors:
Melvyn Bragg

What drives a musician to write extraordinary songs? How do writers create their worlds? How does an actor achieve greatness?For over thirty years of The South Bank Show, Melvyn Bragg has interviewed many of the greatest cultural icons of our age. These interviews offer revelatory insights into the lives and work of writers, actors, artists and musicians. In The South Bank Show: Final Cut he has revisited some of these artists and used the interviews as the basis for fuller portraits.The range of artists is remarkable and this book is true to The South Bank Show's ethos of seeking out the highest quality whatever the art form.Melvyn Bragg's unique perspective makes this book indispensable for anyone interested in the work and lives of some of the best artists of our time.

Hodder Paperbacks

Rich: The Life of Richard Burton

Melvyn Bragg
Authors:
Melvyn Bragg

Richard Burton: star. The roaring boy from the Welsh coal valleys who came to sport on the banks of the old Nile, playing great Antony to Elizabeth Taylor's Cleopatra. From the West End to Hollywood, from Camelot to Shakespeare, he drank, dazzled and despaired, playing out his life on the public stage. But there was another, quieter, off-stage Richard Burton, a face hidden from the multitude.Melvyn Bragg, allowed free access to the never-before-revealed Burton private notebooks, and with the cooperation of friends who have never spoken about him before, has brought together the private and public sides for the first time. Rich is the complete Richard Burton: a revelation.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Adventure Of English

Melvyn Bragg
Authors:
Melvyn Bragg
Hodder & Stoughton

In Our Time

Melvyn Bragg
Authors:
Melvyn Bragg
Sceptre

Credo

Melvyn Bragg
Authors:
Melvyn Bragg

Britain during the Dark Ages is the setting for the fascinating story of Bega, a young Irish princess who became a saint, and her lifelong bond with Padric, prince of the north-western kingdom of Rheged. This dramatic, far-reaching tale brings to life a land of warring kings, Christians and pagans, and tribes divided by language and culture, illuminating a little-known yet critical period in British history.

Sceptre

The Silken Net

Melvyn Bragg
Authors:
Melvyn Bragg

Half-French with an agile, inquiring mind, Rosemary Lewis cannot help being out of the ordinary in Thurston, the Cumbrian market town where she grows up between the wars. An early, bruising failure in love drives her inwards to the solace of books until she meets Edgar - vigorous, down to earth and determined to win her. Charting their life together, this powerful novel probes with exceptional acuity the heights and tortured depths of a bond that becomes a shackle.

Sceptre

The Second Inheritance

Melvyn Bragg
Authors:
Melvyn Bragg

Set in the Border country of Northern England, The Second Inheritance follows two young men as they struggle with the constraints of a close-knit farming community. Amid the intimacies and tensions of their families, they discover that only through each other's passion for escape will they finally be able to live their youth.