10-17-2007 02:23 PM
Why did I set out to write a novel about a sixteen-year-old girl sent to an asylum in 1930s Edinburgh? Some time ago, a friend told me about his grandmother’s cousin, who had just died. She had been committed to an asylum in her youth and had never come out. Why had she been sent there? For eloping to Ireland with a legal clerk.
I couldn’t forget this cousin. That there had been times in history when girls could be deemed insane for such things seemed beyond belief. I began to read around the subject and discovered cases of girls institutionalized because they tried on their mothers’ clothes, or showed too much interest in men, or turned down offers of marriage, or kept taking long walks. Asylums, I discovered, had once been used as places to contain not just the mentally ill but also the disobedient and the inconvenient.
Novelists never fail to be absorbed by disobedient and inconvenient people. I have often been labeled as such myself. I shudder to think what could have happened to me if I had been born sixty years earlier. This novel springs from that shudder.
10-24-2007 09:37 AM
10-26-2007 12:07 PM
10-30-2007 01:36 PM
After You'd Gone was a terrific introduction, but Vanishing Act just blew me away. Fortunately, a member of my book club had also read it recently because I HAD to talk to someone immediately upon finishing!
Thank you so much for Esme. Now I'm going to have to read the books between these two titles, aren't I.
Off to see what others have said so far.
10-31-2007 04:27 PM
01-04-2008 01:50 PM
I think it may end up being a great conversation on the 21st!
Desiree, aka Queenie D