Hello fellow book-a-holics,
Today, I am delighted to welcome resident New Yorker and best-selling author, Maria Vale, to Flora’s Musings to answer a couple of burning bookish question floating around my unique mind.
Hi Maria and welcome to Flora’s Musings…
Flora: I fell into the world that you’d created in Forever Wolf and lost myself running with the Great North Pack. What story have you lost yourself in recently?
Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver. Three women, all of them ill-served by their families make a future for themselves and their communities. The main heroine, Miryem, is the daughter of a sweet but ineffectual moneylender somewhere in medieval Lithuania (-ish). She saves her family from destitution, saves her land from the rule of the ice king, then saves the world from something much more voracious. Like in Uprooted, the romance is secondary and the story focuses mostly on the growing agency not just of Miryem but her allies: the tough peasant Wanda and Irina, a noblewoman betrothed to a possessed tsar. The writing is crystalline, both clear and multi- faceted. Just perfect.
Flora: I am always interested to know what authors read during their down time. I’d love to know what your top 5 favourite books are?
[long, long pause]
I tried, but I simply can’t whittle it down that far! Can I offer you a compromise? It’ll probably come as a shock to absolutely no one, that I’m a sucker for books told from the monster’s POV, so here are my five favorite books with monstrous protagonists.
Grendel by John Gardner would have been on any list. I first read it decades ago and have re-read several times since. Honestly, Grendel could probably use a hobby. But he doesn’t so he spends a lot of time ruminating on the seemingly purposeful lives of men and the purposelessness of his own. It is so beautifully written.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I’ve never understood this as a horror novel, but as a tragedy of the first order. “Sometimes I …dared to fancy amiable and lovely creatures sympathizing with my feelings and cheering my gloom; their angelic countenances breathed smiles of consolation. But it was all a dream; no Eve soothed my sorrows nor shared my thoughts; I was alone. I remembered Adam’s supplication to his Creator. But where was mine?”
Mrs. Caliban by Rachel Ingalls. I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t see The Shape of Water, though I did read this 1982 novel about Dorothy whose son (and dog) have died and whose husband has strayed. She finds herself loving an escaped 7’ tall frogman she calls Larry. It is a novella, really, but in a few pages treats loss with a light and loving hand.
The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break by Steven Sherrill. The minotaur is now a line cook at Grub’s Ribs. He lives in a trailer. While oddly no one runs away screaming, he is teased and tormented by the kinds of people he would have eaten in the labyrinth and his sense of self has been rubbed down to a nubbin in the intervening 5000 years. But there is still hope.
The Last Werewolf and Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan. A bloody, loving couple of irreverent werewolves if there were any. The convoluted plot rather blows up by the third volume, but I love the writing and Jake and Talulla’s profane bloodiness.
Maria, thank you for visiting Flora’s Musings today and answering my questions. I must confess that I haven’t read any of your chosen books, although I fell in love with Dr Frankenstein’s monster in the black and white film adaptation and loved The Shape of Water when I saw it on telly recently. What about you, fellow book-a-holics, have you read any of Maria’s favourites? I’d love to hear from you if you have.
Maria’s latest book, Forever Wolf (The Legend of all Wolves #3) is available to pre-order NOW and will be released on 26th March 2019
Forever Wolf (The Legend of All Wolves #3)
Born with one blue eye and one green, Eyulf was abandoned as an infant and has never understood why, or what he is…Varya is fiercely loyal to the Great North Pack, which took her in when she was a teenager. While out on patrol, Varya finds Eyulf wounded and starving and saves his life, at great risk to her own.
Legend says his eyes portend the end of the world…or perhaps, the beginning…
With old and new enemies threatening the Great North, Varya knows as soon as she sees his eyes that she must keep Eyulf hidden away from the superstitious wolves who would doom them both. Until the day they must fight to the death for the Pack’s survival, side by side and heart to heart…
Maria is a logophile and a bibliovore and a worrier about the world. Trained as a medievalist, she tries to shoehorn the language of Beowulf into things that don’t really need it. She currently lives in New York with her husband, two sons and a long line of dead plants.
No one will let her have a pet.
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