Posts Tagged ‘P D James’

A profile of P D James

August 29, 2008

Via Literary Saloon, I learnt about this profile by Boyd Tonkin of P D James. It took time for me to begin appreciating James; but, once I got the hang of it, till now, very few are the instances in which she disappointed me. I did not have a word till now to describe why I like her novels so much (and, why I found it difficult to appreciate them in the beginning); the profile supplies me with one — micro-climate:

Every reader of PD James knows that institutions give rise to their own micro-climate, with local habits and habitats every bit as exotic as the seething life of a sheltered bay or a deep ravine. “I’m fascinated by organisations, the way in which people relate to each other at work,” says the perennial bestseller, who was already almost 20 years into an acclaimed career of crime when she retired from the civil service in 1979. From the NHS and the Home Office to the BBC (she served five years as a Governor) and the House of Lords (where she takes the Tory whip), she can underpin her detective fiction with wider inside knowledge than almost any author in the history of the genre. “Of course, it has been tremendously helpful to have had a bureaucratic life apart from the writing. I don’t think I’m the kind of writer who would do well sitting in a country cottage, frankly.”

Baroness James of Holland Park, a Londoner by choice if not by birth, does not sit in a country cottage and conjure up fantasy backdrops for the “contaminating” deaths that shake small worlds – from churches to publishers – to their roots in her novels. “When I see people who have got other jobs,” she explains, “I long to question them about how their day is organised; how they make their money; what are the problems, and so on.” All the same, the engine-room of her empire of mystery feels as if it stands at a slight angle to its place and time.

Take a look!

Books to look forward to!

April 15, 2008

[1] Eurocrime alerts us to the news of an Adam Dalgleish mystery from P D James to be published in September;

[2] Maud Newton points to a preview of Junot Diaz’s next book.

[3] Over Paper Cuts, Dwight Garner points to (in his opinion) the quote of the week:

Here is John Sutherland on Salman Rushdie’s new novel:

If “The Enchantress of Florence” doesn’t win this year’s Man Booker I’ll curry my proof copy and eat it.