Exciting new book release
Cath is busy reading The Chimes (Hachette 2015), a great new novel by Anna Smaill – you may have seen the review last weekend in The Herald. Anna has conjured up a world, part dystopia, part sci-fi, part quasi-historical, with under-and overtones of Renaissance London. Music is not only a major means of communication but also a powerful controller – and eliminator – of memory. And memory is blasphony.
Anna draws extensively on her training as a violinist. She spent a year at Canterbury University as a performance student and speaks still of her fascination with body memory – the way that concentrated music practice is retained long-term. She then switched courses, first to English Literature and then to creative writing. Already a published poet, her word choices are often musical, both figuratively and literally – she uses many musical terms and images to tell her story. “Presto” and “lento” substitute for “fast” and “slow”; a road is “straight as a viol string”; “tradesongs” rather than signs guide the hungry to vendors of potatoes fried in goosefat and to the shuckers of oysters.
Anyone captured by the “otherness” of Phillip Pullman’s Northern Lights trilogy will find resonances in Anna’s sound and sightscape. Anna will be appearing at The Women’s Bookshop, Auckland, February 25, at 6pm. Phone 376 4399 to book.