Kate Atkinson's new novel is A God in Ruins.
From her Q & A with Jax Blunt at Making it Up:
Both Life after Life and A God in Ruins deal with brutal topics in a clear and undramatic way – I would say that the calmness allows the reader to consider the events without the author’s emotions getting in the way if that makes any sense – was that ever difficult to maintain? And if so, what were the most difficult topics to write?Learn about Kate Atkinson's top ten novels.
Oh, that’s a complicated question. Well a writer is outside of their narrative, you have to be objective in order to write, because writing is such a structured activity, it’s not just an out-pouring of emotions. So by the time you’ve considered how you’re going to write those scenes, you have already got a certain authorial distance, and then the important thing is to be able to recreate those moments – flying over enemy territory, the terror of crash-landing or ditching and so one and render them in such a way that they retain their power and their truth. In a way, you’re analysing something, and taking it apart, and then you’re putting the ‘feeling’ back in. There are s a lot of harrowing scenes in this book and in Life After Life but I don’t really get distressed by them because I I’ve been through all of that before I start writing.
The only scene I cannot revisit – in fact I never do revisit – the only scene which made me cry is in Behind the Scenes at the Museum when the pet dogs are killed in the First World War … It’s just so horrible the idea that you’d send your pet dog to the Front. What were these people thinking? Puppies going to do their bit… Death of any dog, of animal, they’re the ones I find difficult. The death of Ginger in Black Beauty scarred me for life. People are easier...[read on]