Tomorrow is the release of author Francesca Haig’s second book ‘The Map of Bones’ (Amazon UK/ Amazon US) which is the sequel to The ‘Fire Sermon’ (Amazon UK/ Amazon US). To celebrate the release of her latest book Francesca has taken part in Post-apocalyptic Reads and chosen her Fallout 5.
Francesca Haig’s Fallout 5:
1. Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels: I already know this novel pretty much by heart, so it almost seems a waste of one of my five choices – but I couldn’t bear to be without it. Fugitive Pieces is an astoundingly lyrical reflection on the aftermath of the Holocaust. The language Michaels uses is a revelation – it’s pure poetry. I’ll never forget reading it for the first time, and thinking: “You’re allowed to do that with language?!” It’s a novel that deals with hugely important ideas, in the most intensely striking language. I would want it by my side in the bunker, as both a comfort and a provocation. (Amazon UK/ Amazon US)
2. The Road by Cormac McCarthy: You’d think that in choosing only five books, I’d be tempted to go for enormous tomes, for maximum value – but this slim novel punches above its weight, and has a greater impact than most books five times its size. I’m in awe of how McCarthy manages to convey the absolute starkness of the destroyed world, but also the tenderness of the relationship between the father and his son. This book was a huge influence when I was creating the post-apocalyptic landscape of The Fire Sermon series, and I never tire of reading it. (Amazon UK/ Amazon US)
3. Beloved by Toni Morrison: I didn’t get bored with this novel even after studying it intensely for three years when I wrote my Ph.D. about it – so it should stand up well to re-readings in the bunker. Morrison’s novel about slavery is terrifying and brilliant. Few novels have this level of complexity and power. It’s like Hamlet – you feel that each time you read it, you find something new. (Amazon UK/ Amazon US)
4. Thank You, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse: All my other choices so far have been horribly dark – perhaps not surprising, given that I write post-apocalyptic novels, and my academic research focuses on Holocaust literature. But in the bunker, I’d need something to lighten the mood, and for that I’ve always turned to Wodehouse. Thank You, Jeeves is one of his best, and always gets me laughing, and admiring Wodehouse’s finely tuned comic writing. The only downside would be that my laughter might give away the location of my bunker to the marauding hordes. (Amazon UK/ Amazon US)
5. Grain by John Glenday: When I first bought this book, I opened it at random, read a page, and was just gobsmacked. I never understand why Glenday isn’t better known. His poems are stunning – beautifully crafted, but without losing a sense of authenticity and intimacy. Each one is an object of beauty, and I think in the bunker I’d need as much beauty as I could lay my hands on. (Amazon UK/ Amazon US)
You Suddenly have to run from the bunker, you can only save one book, which do you rescue?
if I had to run from the bunker and could take only one book, I’d take Fugitive Pieces, for its wisdom, its beauty, and its capacity to surprise me. It contains a big chunk of my heart.