It's day 2 of The Ends of the Earth blog tour and it's my pleasure to welcome author Abbie Greaves to the blog to talk about some of her recommended reads that have a similar theme or connection to her books and writing.
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Mental health is a theme that has run throughout both my novels, my debut, The Silent Treatment, and my latest, The Ends of the Earth. I am a huge fan of the way that Mary Beth Keane approaches the subject in her work - with nuance and sensitivity but most of all: compassion. This story of two ordinary families torn apart by a tragedy that will define their lives for decades is one of the most memorable novels I have ever read.
The Last Migration by Charlotte McConaghy
This novel has the most phenomenal sense of place. As the protagonist, Franny Stone, follows the Arctic terns on what might be their last migration to Antarctica, we see her grow within herself too. In The Ends of the Earth, I was keen to track a similar path between mental and physical transformation, using a range of locations. After a year of seeing the same four walls, I hope that readers will enjoy the escapism!
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
I am a huge fan of Tayari Jones' writing, not least the brilliant way in which she shows that, truly, no man is an island. In Silver Sparrow, we see the inextricable links between two half-sisters, who grew up without knowing one another (or that their shared father was a bigamist!). Whenever I write, one of the first questions I ask myself is inspired by this idea: who are the people that surround my main characters - friends, colleagues, neighbours? Because it's those links that reveal who we really are....
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
This utterly charming novel explores the concept of moving on, it all its raw and messy glory. When fourteen-year-old June Elbus' beloved Uncle Finn dies, she must learn how to carry on without his treasured advice. In The Ends of the Earth, we meet the protagonist Mary at a similarly painful if thematically different crossroads which she will only ever leave if she can find the courage to do so. I won't give any spoilers, but it is one hell of a journey for her...!
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
My last recommendation just so happens to also be my only non-fiction pick. This is a brilliant read for writers and non-writers alike, in that it celebrates the joy that can be found in creativity and its balm for the curious mind. I regularly re-read passages to remind me that, if you are loving what you write, that passion will transfer to readers too - I very much hope that will be the case with The Ends of the Earth!
Abbie Greaves studied at Cambridge University before working in a literary agency for a number of years. She was inspired to write her first novel, The Silent Treatment, after reading a newspaper article about a boy in Japan who had never seen his parents speak to one another before. Abbie lives in Brighton.
Sadly I wasn't able to read The Ends of the Earth in time to review today alongside this guest post from Abbie but I'm hoping to read over the Bank Holiday weekend to review at some point next week.
Mary O’Connor has been keeping a vigil for her first love for the past seven years.
Every evening without fail, Mary arrives at Ealing Broadway station and sets herself up among the commuters. In her hands Mary holds a sign which bears the words: ‘Come Home Jim.’
Call her mad, call her a nuisance, call her a drain on society – Mary isn’t going anywhere.
That is, until an unexpected call turns her world on its head. In spite of all her efforts, Mary can no longer find the strength to hold herself together. She must finally face what happened all those years ago, and answer the question – where on earth is Jim?
The Ends of the Earth by Abbie Greaves is out now (Century, HBK, £12.99)