long time – Key Pax http://key-pax.com/ Thu, 03 Mar 2022 06:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://key-pax.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/key-pax-icon-150x150.png long time – Key Pax http://key-pax.com/ 32 32 A new novel focuses on healing and regret https://key-pax.com/a-new-novel-focuses-on-healing-and-regret/ Thu, 03 Mar 2022 06:00:00 +0000 https://key-pax.com/a-new-novel-focuses-on-healing-and-regret/

We know memory plays tricks, but as Andrew Miller and I activate our webcams to discuss his new novel, I reflect on the fact that it can’t really be 25 years – can it? – since the publication of his first novel, Ingenious Pain. “I say!” he says. “Each time I publish another book, I have lunch with my editor, we look at each other with an increasingly incredulous feeling that this is continuing. With the feeling also of getting away with it, that no one has stopped us yet!

Ingenious Pain has won numerous awards, including the International Dublin Literary Award in 1999, and since then Miller has published eight more novels, including his latest, The Slowworm’s Song. The shortened sense of time between then and now could also be related to the fact that on my laptop screen, Miller doesn’t look much older now than he did then, certainly nothing to do with his 60 years. The effect is enhanced by its holiday background: a white wall, a blue stable door and floral painting in blue and yellow.

He is not on vacation but in the southwest of England, in “a classic little Somerset village, more cows than people in fact”, his home for 16 years, where he lives with his daughter 17 years old. Fittingly, our two locations – Somerset and Belfast – cover the sets for his new novel.

However, I wanted to ask him the title of the book first. He has a good ear for a resonant track, after all — Oxygen, The Optimists, One Morning Like a Bird — and finding the right track is “really important to me,” he says. “It’s the opening line, in a way. When people just look at the object, the author’s name might not mean anything, but the title should mean something.

Along with The Slowworm’s Song, the title comes from the modernist poem Briggflatts by Basil Bunting: “So he arose and drove silently home through a clean forest / Where every branch repeated the song of the Slowworm.” Miller says, “It was perfect. There’s just something about that little bit of verse from a long, long poem, that suggested breaking free through something.

This pretty much sums up the theme of the novel. It’s told by Stephen Rose, a 51-year-old recovering alcoholic living in Somerset, writing a kind of letter to his adult daughter, Maggie, as he tries to come to terms with a defining period of his past: he was a soldier. in Northern Ireland in the 1980s, and one event in particular continues to shake his mind.

When I ask where the story comes from, Miller talks about “little rootlets” for the book “going back to different places. One of them goes back to a place in Somerset, a kind of very powerful atmospheric zone, dominated by Glastonbury Tor It’s kind of a very powerful landscape.

“And there’s also the story of a squad that had served in Northern Ireland, and that was something that had been on my mind for a very, very long time. It was one of those things that I I grew up and 250,000 soldiers served there at one time or another, and I didn’t know much from their point of view.

“I just felt there was something unsaid in there, which is how do you get over something you don’t have to get over? How do you get over that you can’t come back from?

A British Soldier in Belfast: Andrew Miller’s new novel is about a soldier in Northern Ireland in the 1980s, and one event in particular continues to disturb his state of mind. Photography: Kaveh Kazemi/Getty

I am aware that my editors had an element of nervousness, they were very supportive of me but it also immediately sounded the alarm

This “recovery” relates to the central event of Stephen’s time in Northern Ireland. And the book is published, I mention it, just after the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. Did Miller have any concerns about the book from a sensitive point of view, about writing from the perspective of a British soldier in Ireland?

“Oh yes, definitely. Absoutely. And the more you go, the more you realize that in fact” – he pauses and his voice drops – “we probably shouldn’t do this. He laughs, perhaps nervously. “It was really like [the book] was going to be watched by other people I started to think, maybe it’s just going to piss someone off terribly. But I hope not. Stephen comes from a particular place and he has quite mixed opinions about what happened around the British Army in Ireland.

“But I’m aware that my editors had an element of nervousness, they were very supportive but that also immediately raised alarm bells. But there’s an element of ‘publish and be damned’ I guess.

It is certainly true that The Slowworm’s Song is not a celebration of the British presence (“When is it ever possible to watch a movie of soldiers in the streets”, asks Stephen in the book, “and not have any doubts about the correctness of this one?”).The focus is on Stephen’s regret and how what he did when he was in Belfast aged 22 the fucked up.

In this sense, the book follows a line in Miller’s work, most clearly from his earlier novel Now We Shall Be Entirely Free, which explored guilt in another war – Britain’s campaign against Napoleon in Spain – 200 years ago. years ; but also in earlier novels like The Crossing, where an enigmatic main character had to deal with a tragic accident.

Ireland, in fact, is closer to the very English-sounding Miller than you might think: his father was born in Belfast in 1925. “He told us that quite late, really. It wasn’t someone who sat down at night and said, you know, son, that was my childhood. It just didn’t cross his mind, but as he got older, a little more of that started to come out. He certainly considered himself a Scot, [but] his father worked for a company in Belfast, and he stayed there for five years.

Miller himself has visited Belfast on several occasions, partly because “it would be strange to put a book where the city is quite important, and not have set foot there”. But his novel about revolutionary France, Pure, is taught as an A-level text at Belfast Metropolitan College, which also brought him. And, inevitably for anyone with a parent born on the island, Miller and his daughter became Irish citizens after Brexit. “It feels like a surprisingly generous thing from the Irish state.”

I found it to be a struggle. And I’m still not sure of the voice, if I threw it [right]

Setting – time as well as place – is always essential in Miller’s fiction. Where his most garlanded novels have been historical – like Ingenious Pain, or Pure – the setting of The Slowworm’s Song is almost contemporary: a man in 2011 looking back to the 1980s. With the broad, all-knowing eye of his stories, Miller for the first time told a story in the first person.

“And it may be the last!” he said laughing. “I thought it was a struggle. And I’m still not sure about the voice, if I threw it [right].” The problem, he explains, is writing in the voice of someone who “isn’t a very educated man. There is a certain type of literary language that I wanted to stay away from. It had to be more conservative language, and I’m someone who, whatever else I am, I’m someone who is steeped in literature. Normally, I’m like a portable camera, I can move around, I can be very close. And I like it, it’s much better. So I don’t know if I would rush back to first person.

This, and the uncertainty over the setting, seems to reflect an ambiguity on Miller’s part about The Slowworm’s Song in general – or it could just be a very English sort of self-effacement. When talking in general terms about his next novel, he seems more enthusiastic: “I’ve embarked on something new, which looks like what I’ve been looking for for a long time.” No details, but “sometimes in the desert you find the burning bush. And sometimes you have to settle for one that’s a bit smoldering. With Slowworm, there was always a certain sense of struggle.

Anyway, I offer at the end of our call, I hope The Slowworm’s Song does him some good. “Good.” He pauses. “It will do something. It’s done now. We have moved on! He may still be thinking about how he’s “done” after 25 years – although readers and award juries have been very pleased with the results.

‘Clean Air’ is a dystopian serial killer novel, but author Sarah Blake says joy is her goal for readers – Daily News https://key-pax.com/clean-air-is-a-dystopian-serial-killer-novel-but-author-sarah-blake-says-joy-is-her-goal-for-readers-daily-news/ Tue, 01 Mar 2022 15:23:35 +0000 https://key-pax.com/clean-air-is-a-dystopian-serial-killer-novel-but-author-sarah-blake-says-joy-is-her-goal-for-readers-daily-news/

Sarah Blake’s “Clean Air” offers readers a lot: It’s a dystopian novel set in the near future, a decade after The Turning – where tree pollen becomes deadly and kills vast swathes of the population, forcing everyone to live indoors or wear protective masks outdoors.

But it’s also a utopian novel, where society has been rebuilt in a safer and fairer way…until it’s all threatened by a serial killer who rampages through a town, slashing the protective exteriors of homes, killing entire families.

And although much of the book is a novel about mother nature, it is also a novel about the nature of mothers and daughters. Izabel still mourns the loss of her mother, who died just before The Turning, while raising her precocious daughter, Cami…and feels like the rest of her life is meaningless. Then Cami, who considers the trees outside the car windows her friends, starts having strange, possibly supernatural dreams, and Izabel is pulled into the serial killer’s orbit, endangering safety. from his family.

Related: Get more stories about books, authors, and bestsellers with the free Book Pages newsletter

The book’s premise may seem otherworldly, but much of it, from the emotional details to the anecdotes, comes from the real life of the poet and novelist Blake, whose previous work of fiction, “Naamah”, reinvented the story of Noah’s Ark from the perspective of Noah’s wife.

“The bonds are really strong for me,” Blake said in a recent video interview. “I was writing about the death of my grandfather 15 years ago, but my mother passed away and I was working on the revisions after suffering this kind of loss.”

But just like with his book, all is not gloomy. “The book was partly inspired by my son who had a tree friend at the bus stop when he was five,” she says. “Every day he had to say hello and goodbye and hug his tree friend.”

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Q. You wrote about a catastrophic event that kills people and changes society, creating a world where no one can go out without a mask. But you started three years before the pandemic.

People have written to me about the opportunity. It was really weird. I had friends in California who, because of the wildfires, had children who had to wear masks to go to school. There are so many different ways the air can go unclean.

Also, my allergies were getting really bad and there were a good three years where I ended up in the ER because my asthma was getting so out of control. It could be a good six months before my breathing returns to normal.

Q. So the pollen was a real danger to you.

Willows are my worst.

The reactions really blew me away. It’s better in the UK for some reason. When people say how unrealistic it is in the book, I say, “Well, look at me.”

I drew a lot on my reactions to find out how they experienced the exits in the air; I am a cougher which is very frustrating as it is difficult to communicate.

Q. To what extent does this book stem from your own fears about the climate crisis and environmental degradation?

I go through waves of that. I remember seeing with my own eyes the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Watching him was something. I recycle and I don’t even have a car. But you realize that’s up to the companies at this point – the big differences should come from there, so you have to accept the loss of control.

I started getting involved in local politics and working on newsletters on issues like fracking. Some of the ones Izabel reads online are the ones I did. There is always something new to be terrified of and in “Clean Air” I was trying to write about all the disasters that worry me.

Q. In terms of environmental damage, do you think we will only change our ways after something as dramatic and destructive as The Turning?

For a change that really made the world amazingly better, then yes. Instead, I think we’ll find ways to survive shit for a really long time, making small changes so people feel like they’re living a normal life even when one normal quickly overtakes another.

Q. You write literary novels that deal with serious issues, but you seem to like building alternate worlds.

I’m a science fiction kid at heart. My dad always had “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” so world-building has always been fascinating to me. I continue to watch and read science fiction but found myself on the literary side. There aren’t many poets like me who write science fiction poetry.

This book lived in my head for a while once the world popped into my head. I did a lot before I even started writing. It’s such a nice part for me. My next book is a completely invented world although it is the closest to contemporary times.

Q. And then you work a serial killer crime thriller into all of this. Where does this come from?

I love procedurals and murder mysteries. They are my outlet. I’m watching “Elementary” again with Lucy Liu and I think they do a really good job with the characters. The genre is huge; I find my niches. As a teenager, I fell asleep on “Law & Order”. I probably watched all of ‘Law and Order’ until season 18. And ‘Law and Order: SVU’ helped me deal with some of my deep fears about rape – they were talking about it on that show surprisingly and directly. and honest ways that really helped.

After building the world, I started with Izabel by writing letters to Cami; and once I developed this mother-daughter relationship and started to understand who I was spending time with, I sat down to write and the first thing that came out was this trip to the hospital and that there was a serial killer.

Part of what makes writing fun for me is that my main character is usually stuck in a way that can seem hopeless. It’s usually based on times in my life – sometimes for years at a time – when I felt very stuck and hopeless, whether it was within the confines of a marriage or being away from my mother as she was dying or lived in a country where the government was failing.

So I thought what can I offer Izabel, who feels totally adrift and aimless? It’s weird but I got her a serial killer. It loosened her, oddly enough.

Q. For a dystopian novel, your characters live quite comfortably. Given how dysfunctional our society is already, wouldn’t things be much worse if we had something like “The Turning,” something closer to Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road”?

I honestly think people would die. I’m not optimistic about human nature, but I wanted to write a book that was.

The core of it all was that I didn’t want to read “The Road”, I thought that would be too much. Then I had to read it to teach it when I was a long-term replacement. I wasn’t wrong. It destroyed me.

I was wondering if there was a way to have the dystopian but still have the other side. I knew if you couldn’t even get out, you couldn’t poke around and couldn’t riot. I went beyond the utopian aspect.

I want people to have an enjoyable reading experience. I’ve had enough heartache in my life for the past few years, so I wanted to do something that’s not just going to make you cry for ten pages. Joy is what I write to.

Redwall Graphic Novel is a perfect callback to the Netflix series https://key-pax.com/redwall-graphic-novel-is-a-perfect-callback-to-the-netflix-series/ Fri, 18 Feb 2022 21:40:00 +0000 https://key-pax.com/redwall-graphic-novel-is-a-perfect-callback-to-the-netflix-series/

The 2007 Redwall graphic novel is a perfect reminder for fans or newcomers ahead of Netflix’s upcoming screen adaptations of the children’s book.

The light at by Netflix plans to create an original red wall TV series and movie, the 2007 graphic novel adaptation of the first book is the perfect way for new fans to dive into the amazing world of red wall and for older fans to refresh their memories. the red wall Author Brian Jacques’ series remains one of the most iconic children’s fantasy tales ever told, spanning over 20 novels since 1986. The black-and-white graphic novel adaptation of red wall is a wonderful introduction to the series and an ideal nostalgic hit for anyone who grew up in the 90s and is obsessed with the adventures of the creatures of Redwall Abbey.


red wall follows a large group of anthropomorphic animals that live in Redwall Abbey and the surrounding Mossflower Wood, with mostly characters that are mice, badgers, rabbits, and moles. Much of the tension and adventure that appears in the books occurs when the typically peaceful and loving inhabitants of Mossflower are forced to become warriors to defend their kingdom and loved ones from the evil forces of the “varmint” creatures of the world. , the terrible rats, foxes, and weasels. First published in 1986 by Jacques, red wall features young novice monk Matthias as he searches for a legendary shield and sword created by the great Martin the Warrior, while helping the Abbey fight the truly evil one-eyed rat Cluny the Scourge.

Related: Shadow and Bone Graphic Novel Debuts in 2022 as Fans Wait for Season 2

The 2007 Redwall: The Graphic Novel was illustrated by Bret Blevins, known for his pencil drawings and illustrations on the 80s series New Mutantsthe Marvel adaptation of The dark crystaland many problems Batman: Shadow of the Bat. The graphic novel is 147 pages long and each is painstakingly illustrated in black and white, detailing the intense emotions and action-packed fight sequences that made red wall one of the most beloved children’s fantasy sagas of all time. Blevins’ adaptation of the deranged Cluny is particularly haunting, depicting the evil rat as a menacing monster wearing his signature cape made of bat wings, held together by a mole skull, reminiscent of the horrid Sauron from The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Bret Blevins does an excellent job summarizing the long first novel of the red wall saga into a beautiful, digestible graphic novel that would serve as the perfect introduction for young readers interested in young adult graphic novels, which have become hugely popular over the past decade. It’s also a wonderful reminder for long-time fans of the show who can’t remember certain details and want to know their red wall before diving into the upcoming Netflix Original TV show and movie based on the red wall saga. Apparently the Netflix series will focus on Martin the Warrior, the legendary mouse whose shield and sword Matthias tries to recover in the first book, so reading the graphic novel won’t spoil any of the show’s main plot, which adapts the third book in the series.

red wallwhich was already adapted into a three-season 1999 Canadian-produced animated series, is sure to get an updated animated adaptation, and it’s been confirmed that Patrick McHale, creator of Over the garden wall and a writer on adventure time, will be in charge of writing the new Netflix series. Although there has been no news about the start of production on the red wall netflix TV series or film, fans and new readers can dive into the world of Redwall Abbey by reading Bret Blevins 2007 adaptation of the classic children’s fantasy novel by Brian Jacques red wall.

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Netflix’s ‘Murderville’ Fuses Improv And Mystery For Pure Fun https://key-pax.com/netflixs-murderville-fuses-improv-and-mystery-for-pure-fun/ Mon, 14 Feb 2022 02:18:34 +0000 https://key-pax.com/netflixs-murderville-fuses-improv-and-mystery-for-pure-fun/

Murder mysteries have been a popular genre in the mainstream for a long time. From the first Sherlock Holmes book, ‘A Study in Scarlet’, to the hit movie ‘Knives Out’, the story’s archetype remains consistent: someone is murdered, an investigation ensues with clues pointing to the true culprit, then a final gathering. with all the suspects meets and a murderer is declared. There may be a few unexpected elements to the story, but most of the time they follow this pattern. Netflix’s new show, “Murderville” is no exception. However, it has its own twist: improvisation.

The show drops audiences into an old-fashioned police station, with homicide detective and main character Terry Seattle, played by Will Arnett (“Bojack Horseman”). Seattle opens with a grizzled detective monologue, alluding to classic genre overtures. However, in the third shot, the audience sees him driving a pickup truck-style Camaro, and from there, it’s obvious this isn’t your normal murder mystery. Seattle’s internal soliloquy is then interrupted by the Chief of Police (Haneefah Wood, “Nurse Jackie”) to briefly discuss the aftermath of her divorce from Seattle. Arnett is absolutely fantastic in his role. He’s quick-witted with his one-liners and jokes, especially when satirizing internal dialogue and classic police jokes. He’s able to act out any scene to make you laugh, but the show’s main appeal is the wide variety of guest celebrities.

There are a total of six guest celebrities, one for each episode released, including Conan O’Brien, Marshawn Lynch, Kumail Nanjiani, Annie Murphy, Sharon Stone and Ken Jeong. It’s not a completely new idea – iconic shows like “Scooby-Doo” have also featured a number of guest stars “playing themselves”, but the most interesting part of this show is that the guest stars have to completely improvise every line. The audience receives a wide range of experiences from each guest star. O’Brien, famous for his comedic talk show, was a great opener for the show. It was obvious he had television experience and knew how to follow an impromptu scene, but surprisingly, it was legendary retired Seattle Seahawks running back Lynch who stole the show. He was absolutely hysterical, throwing out quip after quip and following the rhythm of the scene. Knowing it was improv made it even more humorous because it seemed like he was just being himself. Plus, Arnett’s over-the-top acting next to the cool and calm Lynch made every scene a joy to watch.