Talking Location With author Katharine Swartz – WHITEHAVEN and the LAKE DISTRICT
A large, though never sprawling, novel Mother London follows three mental-hospital outpatients Mary Gasalee, David Mummery and Josef Kiss and their friends, in an episodic, non-linear history of the capital from the Blitz to present day. Most noteworthy is the astounding humanity of the novel. Throughout the book the voice of ordinary Londoners forces its way into the narratives through snippets of conversations “overheard” by the three main characters who each have, to a greater or lesser extent, the gift of telepathy. This hint of magic is underplayed throughout so that the work never succumbs to the straitjacket of magical realism itself: the conceit is used very successfully to take our characters out of themselves, and to allow London, and the voices that constitute her being, into the novel as a character herself.
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