Day Eleven {Female Author}

For a mildly vague answer to today's question, the reader might want to take a gander at day four's post. I will endeavour to the best of my ability to not be redundant.

day eleven: your favourite female author

It has to be said upfront that I try not to learn too much about the authors whose works I read. Being an author myself, I know that there is a difference between the person who wrote the book and the book itself. Also, knowing the author somewhat cheapens (for me) the life of the work itself. I don't particularly want to know that someone wrote the book, I want the story to be real in its own right. A horse book I read years ago regarding the art of teaching Lipizanners how to dance perhaps sums up the idea best.

Hans examined the picture carefully, slowly. He studied the angle of the leap, the position of the haunches, the hocks, the bend of the foreleg, the arch of the neck. Then he looked at the rider. The face did not show. It might have been himself, or anyone he knew, or no one. The rider had somehow extinguished himself in order to glorify the horse, to make him look as if he had performed of his own will - joyously, gaily.

As a writing aside, I think that is the aim of an author: to extinguish himself and bring forward as if to life his own creation, as if the story were alive in its own right. So, you see, this is a difficult question for me to answer, perhaps more difficult regarding my favourite female author because she wrote more fiction than my favourite male author.

Rosemary Sutcliff

There is no E on the end. I met her, after a fashion, when I was young. I met her in my bedroom, sitting on the bottom bunk (which was Abigail's) - and I met her along an old timber track that struck out fairly into Devon-country. As it were Scrooge and his accompanying Ghosts we watched the comings and goings on that road, and listened to the drovers and hawkers and the tramp-tramp-tramp of the Auxiliaries' feet in perfect regimental time. She knew how to weave a story! She knew the little heart-close details that wake up history and make it alive again. She showed me that golden-fine Cohort of Gaulish Auxiliaries, she showed me the old-world splendour of a British chariot in full career; she showed me a docile Roman household with a light British rain in the fruit trees; she showed me (still further from my tame world) the untouched ruddy glory of the Caledones beyond the pale of Rome. She knew how to weave a story. She could feel the rightness of things, the liveliness of things, how slender and important a thread that life hung on. I know she had her help from many authors who came before her (I have had the opportunity to meet some of those too), but she is still special to me. She taught me how to write the rightness of things and the elemental throb of things, to learn how to wake up history to life again. There are many good authors out there, some of them women like myself. But Rosemary Sutcliff will always be special to me.

what I have read

The Eagle of the Ninth
The Silver Branch
Frontier Wolf
The Lantern Bearers
Dawn Wind
The Shield Ring
Outcast
The Capricorn Bracelet
Warrior Scarlet
Sun Horse, Moon Horse
The Mark of the Horse Lord
The Shining Company
Heather, Oak, and Olive
Simon
Flame-Coloured Taffeta

2 ripostes:

  1. I commented (belatedly) on day four's post, mentioning how I've just started reading her. I discovered today that there's a book which takes place (and is like a bridge) between Lantern Bearers and the first in the Arthur Trilogy, Sword at Sunset. It seems, that despite the fact many of her books are in libraries in my area, none of them have thise. And now I notice you don't list it among the books you've read. I was going to ask if it would be a problem if I skipped it.

    Ajjie >'.'<

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  2. You have Flame Coloured Taffeta?
    (Silly me, of course you do.)

    Is it possible I might borrow it sometime? The title intrigues me and so far as I know our library doesn't have it.

    Which reminds me- I need to re-request the Shield Ring (which I keep wanting to spell The Scild Ring).

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