Saturday, May 14, 2011

Family likeness

Recently, the online bookstore Printsasia asked me to write a guest post about my recent books for their blog (you can read it here). It's funny, the insights you get into your own work when you're asked to do such a thing, given just a short number of words to sum it up. While I had always been clear that there are broad issues running through both The Birth Machine and Too Many Magpies - magic versus science, intuition versus logic etc - I'd always thought of them as two very separate sides of the thematic coin. And indeed they are (as I said at the Didsbury Arts Festival last year): The Birth Machine opposes intuition and true logic on the one hand and bad science on the other by locating them in separate characters, but Too Many Magpies places the two opposing forces - the longing for miracles and the need for rationality - in the one character, the narrator.

For this reason I have always seen the two books as two very separate creatures, but the blog post pushed me to sum up thus:
...the message of both novels is the same: we need to be rational, but we ignore at our peril the possibility of things we would never have guessed…
and all of a sudden a saw them as a pair!

I guess your books are like your children. From the inside you see the differences, and not the family likenesses, but I have the feeling I've said this here before...

2 comments:

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

THis is something I have been thinking about. Well, 'themes' in my work. I am seeing similarities though there are huge differences. It's interesting and enjoyable to do this kind of analysis, I find. It focusses the mind. Thanks for posting this.
N x

Elizabeth Baines said...

Yes, it does focus the mind, Nuala.