WHAT BOOK would novelist Freya North take to a desert island?
. . . are you reading now?
While I’m writing I read voraciously about my chosen subjects — and I find it hard to read fiction. I’m currently in the final chapters of my 16th novel which is partly set in Manchester in the late 1980s. I lived in the city at that time and loved it.
I’m reading The End-Of-The-Century Party by Steve Redhead which is just so compellingly written, and engagingly sets that extraordinary era in Manchester’s cultural history into a social and political context.
I’m also enjoying From Manchester With Love by the brilliant writer and broadcaster Paul Morley. This is his beautifully written biography of the inimitable Tony Wilson who founded Factory Records and the Hacienda nightclub and was both a visionary and an eccentric to whom British culture owes so much.
Freya North (pictured) would take the complete works of Thomas Hardy to a desert island
These books have really transported me back to my time in Manchester. However, as soon as I finish my novel I’ll be losing myself in Mrs Bridge by Evan S. Connell, which my mum bought me for Christmas.
Mum’s recommendations are always very varied and interesting — she inspired me to become a bookworm!
. . . would you take to a desert island?
Easy — the complete works of Thomas Hardy. I could imagine myself back in the English countryside and I’d never be lonely with all the unforgettable characters he created.
Hardy continues to inspire me as a writer — and to think of landscape as a major character, not merely a backdrop.
. . . first gave you the reading bug?
The Carbonel children’s books by Barbara Sleigh. Though they were written between 1955 and 1978, the stories remain so readable and are the perfect blend of the everyday — and magic.
Freya said The Carbonel children’s books by Barbara Sleigh first gave her the reading bug
I lost myself in heroine Rosemary’s world. It’s the long summer holiday from school, she buys an old broom and realises she can hear a black cat talking — not just any cat but a princely (and bossy) cat who’s had a spell cast on him by a retired witch, a spell which Rosemary must break.
I used to hold on to our garden broom and stare at our cat for hours hoping I’d be able to hear her talk!
. . . left you cold?
It’s taken me a long time to admit it as I know this book has a huge following — but The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger just didn’t do it for me. Perhaps my small brain just doesn’t work that way, but I became so scrambled with the leaping time frames that I found it hard to connect with the characters and their time-hopping relationship.
I also couldn’t stand Miss Smilla’s Feeling For Snow by Peter Hoeg, which was a huge hit when it came out in 1992. To me, it was an unemotive story about someone with posh fur gloves living somewhere cold who comes across a giant sci-fi worm — as far as I can remember!
- Little Wing by Freya North is published by Welbeck at £12.99.