Subtext and ghastly vicars

jenni murray

Last Thursday I was interviewed by an enthusiastic  Jenni Murray (above)  on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour about The Rising of Bella Casey. “We loved this novel,” she said more than once.  One of the things she picked up on was the subliminal references to O’Casey’s plays in the novel.  You don’t have to know O’Casey’s work to enjoy this novel – but it does add another layer to the narrative for the alert reader.  Using the plays as a subtext also supports the speculative thread of the novel i.e. how much Bella’s life might have leaked into O’Casey’s drama. After all, every family has its shared lore.  When there’s a writer in the family that can get mined as material. We also talked about the ethics of writing about real people – even if they’re dead – and the “ghastliness” – Jenni Murray’s description – of the Reverend Leeper, the only wholly fictional character in the book. Here’s the link to the podcast:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007qlvb/episodes/player