Caitriona Lally in Madame Bovary, Beryl the Peril and other heroines – The Irish Times

What was the first book that inspired you?

Alice in Wonderland – pure magic. I loved the sound of it, the absurdity of it all, the madness of it all. The book’s 150th anniversary this year is bankrupting me. I have ten different books of the book, and the house is full of Alice books, cups, and furniture.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I loved the story Choose Your Own Journey; The idea that you can control the fate of nature is compelling – and it is. I saw my childhood at my parents’ house and spent happy hours reading while I wrote; turn wrong and kill the main character before restarting.

And what is your current favorite book or book?

John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces, and Three Men in a Boat and Three Men in a Bummel by Jerome K Jerome – a comedy. And Kjersti Skomsvold’s The Faster I Walk, The Small I Am is dark and funny. Anakina Schofield’s Malarky is off the wall with a bonkers Mayo woman at the centre, the best way. I love WG Sebald’s Austerlitz, Thomas Bernhard is also a realist – there’s something about those long, drawn-out sentences that make me happy. And Rachel Cusk’s Outline, JM. Coetzee’s Life and Times of Michael K, and Rebecca Solnit’s essays. Then there’s Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse, Time Passes more beautifully in the middle of the piece with lots of rot and cobwebs and weeds. Now, I’d like to add William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. And Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina – I love the strong and ambitious heroine who lives strong outside of her needs and interests.

For short stories, I love Tobias Wolff, George Saunders, Ann Beattie, Lorrie Moore, Kevin Barry, James Salter, Claire Keegan, Lydia Davis and Alice Munro.

What is your favorite language?

“Shite and onions”, from Ulysses, which I read last year. I was afraid of the book, but words like this made me less afraid.

Who is your favorite fictional character?

Beryl the Peril from The Topper. He gave it as good as he got, he was feisty and cheeky and a messer. When my brothers and I were little, our parents used to buy piles of comics at jumble sales – The Beano, Dandy, Topper. There are Mandys and Judys and Buntys too, but the figures are like hapless orphans or girls stuck with ponies; and did not complain to me. I loved how brave Beryl was and how she didn’t care what other people thought of her.

Who is the most underrated Irish writer?

I don’t know enough about the authors’ critical thinking to answer that properly. Also, I think if you’re lucky enough to get published, you have some sort of guarantee, that you’re not bound or feted or something in between. There are some talented authors who can’t get a book deal because they don’t have enough business, so I’ll choose them as a low number, and not listed.

Which do you prefer – ebooks or the traditional print version?

I’m afraid to put the latter in the late adopter when it comes to technology. I just came to smartphones this year and recording is better, so the ebook took a long time. And I really want after the physical book. I work as a janitor at Trinity College and when I dust the bookshelves in the Old Library, it smells heavenly. I can’t imagine smelling an ebook.

What is your favorite book?

A friend gave me the graphic novel of Antoine De Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, illustrated by Joann Sfar. The red, pink, black cover and pictures are just beautiful. The text contains this strange statement: “Nothing in the world is the same if somewhere – no one knows where – a sheep that we have not seen eaten or never eaten. the rose.”

I have a hard time finding the right words, I like the idea of ​​explaining things better with a picture. The world would be better off without my boxcar husbands now.

Where and how do you write?

I never had a regular job; I wrote while not working and I wrote while working, clicking on words about normal working hours. Now, my paid work starts early in the morning, in theory, leaving evenings for writing. I used to write in bed, but after I first started I would fall asleep if I was near the bed, so the table is better for word count.

What book changed the way you think about fiction?

Roddy Doyle is the Snapper. The age at which you read a book determines its influence on you. I was about 11 or 12 when I read Snapper and I remember being more excited about punctuation than inverted commas for speech (yes, I was quite the nerd of a kid). The dialogue was so real and so real, it made me realize that there is more to books than young teenagers and the sound behind the television head.

What’s the most research you’ve done for a book?

Eggshells was my first book, and most of the details I did for it weren’t like research because I was following the many routes that Vivian was taking around Dublin. Some of the routes I went to explore, and I went on car trips to the farthest parts of the city where Vivian would go. I got scraps and scraps of paper for notes, then came home from Vivian’s hike and plotted the routes on an old map on the living room floor. I tried to draw them, winkily, and got the pictures drawn in the book. I’m glad that Karen Vaughan, the designer at Liberties Press, thought to recreate Vivian’s map drawings – it’s nice to separate the words with something visual.

What book has inspired you the most?

I don’t know if I can call it an influence, because it’s different from Eggshells, but Henry Miller’s Tropic of Capricorn is a revelation to me. Even though he’s writing an autobiographical story about drinking and sex with prostitutes, Miller doesn’t seem like he’s trying to be shocking. I love how reckless the book is, how brave the writing is, how he doesn’t care if he comes across as a bad guy at times. I regret giving a copy to my younger brother, however, completely forgot about the very specific female characters.

What book would you give to a friend’s child on his 18th birthday?

A blank sheet of paper. Reading is said to be the worst, so they can start their writing right away, get the first ten thousand or so scary words out of the way, and get started. they go to twenty. I am very late in this writing lark; I want to get rid of the scary parts from the youth track.

What book did you wish you read when you were young?

I have no reading regrets. I filled my little head with lots and lots of tripe when I was young: pulpy stuff with an emphasis on design and character development. I read for pure pleasure – enough time for serious reading as an adult.

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

Learn a trade, which pays. Worrying about money drains mental energy that could make your writing more effective. And don’t expect too much from your first attempts at writing; you know that they will become complete rubbish, but keep plowing through the rubbish.

What weight do you give reviews?

Before my book was published, I got a lot of feedback that I shouldn’t read reviews, but I was new to this game and wasn’t cool enough to ignore them. I try to stay away from reviews, though. You can damage your sanity if you dwell on every rejection or look at a small or negative review. I try not to take the good or the bad too seriously, or I’ll become a noble or crawl into a hole and never come out. Some are not good.

When it comes to bad reviews, the biggest worry is for the reviewer’s soft parts if my mom finds out.

Where do you see the publishing industry going?

I don’t know much about the business side of things, so I can’t comment on that, but I hope (maybe) that the publishers with the big bucks take risks with unknown authors. Smaller independent publishers are the ones publishing books that don’t fit a particular niche or are hard to sell, and I like to see new things from the big players.

What kinds of writing have you noticed these days?

I don’t know if it’s a trend, but I’ve seen some really good oddball storytellers in recent years, as a response to the real estate boom. Wealth seems to bring homogeneity in style and availability, and these failures are working outside of that.

What lessons have you learned about life from reading?

From the Sweet Valley High story I read when I was young, I learned that the twin who wears makeup and purple clothes is more attractive to boys than the twin who writes about the school newspaper. Since I read it as a parent, I don’t know the lessons I have learned. Maybe I’ve read “How To” books that tell me how to make this career a success.

What did the author teach you?

That writing can be done, even if you believe that other people have written it. I didn’t start writing a book, it grew out of observations and ramblings, so I was surprised to see my name on the book cover.

Which authors, living or dead, would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Well, multitasking is not my strong suit, so cooking for people and talking to them at the same time is a challenge. I served a large plate of crisps on a bed of popcorn, followed by the store’s own cider. As for guests, I invite writers who have different opinions and who are involved in important states. Lacking proper nutrition, alcohol will have more of an effect and they will really let each other down – and they will be less likely to be there to entertain tired old stories and rehearse aphorisms.

What’s the funniest picture you’ve read?

There’s a scene in Kurt Vonnegut’s book Timequake, where he and his sister describe seeing a woman come straight out of a tram, in the first chapter – I’m picturing like that scene in Father Ted where Mrs Doyle falls from the window – and how they. laughing hysterically about it years later. I know it’s not developed for me, but face drops make me laugh more than anything (when they don’t really hurt, of course). I get mad if someone laughs at me when I fail, of course. I fell down a slippery slope in Mayo recently and when my sister started laughing, I grabbed her and dragged her into the rubbish with me.

What is your favorite language?

Connect. I wish you had more than one conniption.

If you were to write a novel, what event or number would be your subject?

The Soviet regime in eastern Europe, or any other system of justice where you can’t trust family or friends and never know who is a spy. It’s interesting to me, the idea that the people closest to you are the ones who betray you, but I was probably taken by the glamor of James Bond.

Eggshells by Caitriona Lally is published by Liberties Press

.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: