I reviewed Miranda Richmond's amazing A Fifty-Year Silence. Read this post as I ask questions concerning characters, scenes and everything the book. You should also enter the giveaway below to stand a chance of winning a paperback copy to sun-bathe with this summer.
I wonder what part your parents played in the story, could you say a little about this?
I have an unconventional family. My mother and father divorced when I was a small child and both remarried, and I have always considered myself as having four parents – all of whom I watched pursuing their own unusual careers and passions as I grew up. With this book, I guess I’d say they were supportive from afar: they taught me to read and research and follow my dreams from a young age, and then they sat back and let me do it. Many people have asked me about my mother, Anna and Armand’s daughter, and what role she played in the story. She helped me puzzle out as much as she could, but one of the reasons I ended up writing A Fifty-Year Silence was my curiosity about the fog of mystery in which she had grown up. She never even knew what year her parents had married!
How did your research into your family’s past affect your family life? Did your husband help in the process, or did he leave you to undergo this personal journey alone?
It certainly coloured every aspect of my life. My husband was very supportive throughout the process. He was a real rock to me in caring for my grandfather. But this was very much my story, and he is totally respectful of my creative process. I never show him my work, which he leaves me alone to do in the privacy of the office he built for me beneath our house.
Your grandmother’s strength (taking yoga to her old age) was inspiring to me. What do you think readers would love most about her which would have an impact on their lives (or at least in their old age)?
Well, if I had to impart just one lesson my grandmother taught me (and it’s hard to pick!) I would choose, “You just have to talk to people.” I learned from my grandmother that reaching out to others, asking them questions, offering them your friendship – it can change the course of your life, and theirs, in ways you could never even imagine. My grandmother’s ability to do that gave her a network of lifelong friends who loved her, and love, in the end, is all that matters. Love, hard work on something you’re passionate about, and plenty of garlic.
If your grandmother were to be alive what would she have loved and what would she dislike about the world now?
The same things she always loved – compassion and creativity (and coffee); and the same things she always disliked – cruelty and injustice. She was very open to change, loved to follow current events, and always had an opinion to offer about everything. I think she’d be delighted by the advance of marriage equality across Europe, and very concerned about the political shift to the extreme right.
Are you writing again? I’m eager to find out what you are working on next?
I certainly am! I am working on a book about brilliance, femininity, and why it’s so unseemly for an intellectual to pursue true love. I am also translating The Kites, the last and greatest novel of one of France’s most beloved 20th century writers, Romain Gary.
To Purchase A Fifty-Year Silence, click here.