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Book Who's Talking...Naomi Wood

Wednesday 17th Dec 2014

Danielle Culling

Book Who's Talking...Naomi Wood

Four women tried to live with the notorious Ernest Hemingway, none succeeding as they had hoped. Naomi Wood manages to pin him down by looking at his story through the eyes of each wife, meaning we read about some of his less pleasant attributes without any ego as a buffer. 'Mrs Hemingway' came blazing into bookshops as readers wanted to devour the tales of Hadley, Pauline, Martha and Mary, especially after seeing the glowing reviews the book received nationwide. 

Prior to 'Mrs Hemingway' we had a wonderful dystopian offering as Wood's first novel came along, 'The Godless Boys', an inspired look at what could happen if atheism began to bring about as many wars as religious fundamentalism.

With her first two offerings coming from such opposite ends of the spectrum we are all waiting with baited breath here at Mr B's to see what the next book will be!

I will now hand over to Naomi and her intriguing answers in this weeks Book Who's Talking...

1)     If you were to be stuck in a lift for three hours with any character from literature, who would it be?

Brett Ashely, from Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. If we’re stuck in the lift for three hours, she’s either going to be drunk and will sober up, or she’ll have to dry out in the alcohol free lift, and I’d be able to ask her questions and force her into an honesty I don’t think she ever gives in Hemingway’s masterful first novel.


2)     What was the last book that produced an out pouring of emotion in you? A snort of laughter or tears into a handkerchief?

My editor Francesca Main recommended Miriam Toews’ All My Puny Sorrows. I mean, honestly. I cried all the time reading this book. The portrait of depression and sisterhood felt so true. I had to be really careful where I read it, because I’m not talking elegant crying here, I’m talking puffy-faced sobbing. That makes it sound very bleak; it was actually so funny. I’ve been raving about it a lot to friends.


3)     Which book do you really wish you had written?!

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.


4)     What book did you make your parents read and re read to you when you were younger?

Would You Rather, by John Burningham, then A Dark, Dark Tale by Ruth Brown, then Maurice Zendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, of course!


5)     What one passage from any book you have read has always stuck with you and why?

The prologue from Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. A masterpiece in storytelling.


6)     What is the current read on your bedside table?

Javiar Marias’ A Heart So White, a recommendation from my writer-pal Jonathan Lee. It’s remarkable and puzzling and also quite challenging, so I’m reading it slowly. Next up is Elena Ferrente’s My Brilliant Friend.


7)     We know you are not meant to judge a book by its cover but we all do, so confess…tell us which book you read purely down to aesthetics, and did it live up to your expectations?

I picked up Liza Klaussman’s Tigers in Red Weather purely on the basis of the cover, I don’t even think I read the blurb. I think it showed a sunny scene and someone enjoying a cocktail and I just thought THAT is what I want to read on my holiday and it was absolutely a perfect fit.


8)     You meet a person who is not a reader at all but they’re prepared to give it a go with your ONE suggestion….what book do you press into their hands?

That’s quite a responsibility. What if they never read anything again because of this one book?! I’d have to go for something really immediately enjoyable like The Catcher in the Rye.


As usual, if you would like to take a look at the selection of books above, please click here 


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