Posted by: billpurdue | March 18, 2011

An Interview with Roy Bainton

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a local author by the name of Roy Bainton. Recently I was very fortunate to be able to record an interview with him about his life and work and you can listen to it by clicking here. On the same day, the edition of the Chad will include an article in the What’s On section about Roy and his books. I’d like to thank Roy for his time and also for the copy of his (as yet) only novel The Scrap Run [Emc Press Ltd 9780955452529] which I have just begun to read and will report on in a later posting.


It’s quite a while since I read Susannah Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell [Bloomsbury £9.99 978-0747579885] but I do remember what a good read it was. The paperback edition is over one thousand pages  – it’s a doorstopper of a book, but once I got into it, the length was of no consequence. The two gentlemen in the title are magicians: Mr Norrell claims to be the only magician left in  England whilst Jonathan Strange becomes his pupil, but proves to be a more naturally gifted magician, who later on becomes his rival. It’s a novel that mixes the everyday world and the magical one and has invited comparisons with Jane Austen and Thackeray.

My one thought on finishing this book was “more please!”, but Susannah Clarke did not seem to have written anything else – or so I thought, until I discovered the other week The Ladies of Grace Adieu [Bloomsbury £7.99 978-0747592402] a collection of short stories which came out in 2006. The story from which the book takes its title was actually written before Clarke’s big piece de resistance – this and other information about the author can be gleaned from the lengthy Wikipedia article. Strange and Norrell make an appearance in this story, but not in the other seven fascinating ones. They are all connected with English magic and the realm of Faerie. By the way, for those unfamiliar with Clarke’s work, “Faerie” is not a realm populated by little butterfly sized children with wings attached, but a much darker affair where a “ faerie “ can look just like a human being, but can live for hundreds of years and commit murder without batting an eyelid.


There is one story entitled “Tom Brightwind or How the Fairy Bridge was built at Thoresby”. Before starting to read it I wondered if the Thoresby in the story might resemble the Thoresby in Nottinghamshire. (Susannah Clarke was born in Nottingham and I believe now lives (or lived recently) in Derbyshire)  Well, no. In this story Thoresby is portrayed as a very run down village at the side of a river. The reason for the condition of the village was the lack of a bridge, which the fairy Tom Brightwind contrives to build in one single night. This is just one of the eight skilfully compiled short stories – recommended.


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