MediaMonday for September 24, 2012: Mugglemarch, J.K. Rowling writes a realist novel for adults, a profile of the author by Ian Parker in The New Yorker (October 1, 2012).
Wouldn’t we all like to have a rich uncle to leave us his estate? The unexpected inheritance is a trope used by authors of all genres, from the literary Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte, to the early works of Jonathan Franzen, to the stacks of romance, mystery and thrillers. On Wednesday in #litchat we’ll discuss the trope of inheritance, some of the novels which have used it effectively and ineffectively, as well as why they work. Then on Friday we’ll chat with Barbara Lambert, whose novel, The Whirling Girl, is shaped around this novel.
In the Whirling Girl, botanical artist Clare Livingstone unexpectedly inherits her uncle’s property in Tuscany. She travels to Italy to learn why, despite their long estrangement and complicated past, she was chosen to maintain his legacy. The hill town of Cortona, however, won’t give up its secrets easily. Two men pursue Claire, but with agendas of their own; neighbors pry into the story of her past; and unscrupulous archaeologists are drawn to her property in search of buried Etruscan artefacts. Once again forced to negotiate between desire and history—in a balance as fragile as the orchids she illustrates for science—Clare realizes she cannot escape her life of deception until she finally confronts the truth she has kept buried so long.
Barbara Lambert’s previous work includes A Message for Mr. Lazarus (2000) and The Allegra Series (1999). She has won the Danuta Gleed Award for Best First Collection of Short Fiction and The Malahat Review Novella Prize, and has been a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Prize and the Journey Prize. Lambert has lived in Vancouver, Ottawa, Barbados, and Cortona, Italy, where she stayed in a five-hundred-year-old mill house and researched Etruscan archaeology. She now lives on a cherry orchard in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, with her husband Douglas Lambert.
Follow Barbara Lambert on Twitter at: @BarbaraLambert4.