Monday 27 November 2017

Twice The Speed of Dark by Lulu Allison @LRAllison77 @unbounders #BlogTour

A mother and daughter circle each other, bound by love, separated by fatal violence. Dismayed by the indifference she sees in the news to people who die in distant war and terror, Anna writes portraits of the victims, trying to understand the real impact of their deaths. Meanwhile Anna's daughter, killed by a violent boyfriend, tells her own story from the perplexing realms of death, reclaiming herself from the brutality. Anna's life is stifled by heartache; it is only through these acts of love for strangers that she allows herself an emotional connection to the world. Can Anna free herself from the bondage of grief and find a connection to her daughter once more?

Twice The Speed of Dark by Lulu Allison was published by Unbound on 24 November 2017.

I'm really happy to be part of the Blog Tour for Twice The Speed of Dark and delighted to welcome the author, Lulu Allison to Random Things today.  She's talking about the books that are special to her, and have inspired her in My Life In Books.

My Life In Books - Lulu Allison

Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

I was given a copy of this by my bibliophile grandfather as a gift, the christmas after I was born. ‘A first instalment for your library, from a fond and affectionate Gran’pa.’ How could I not become a book lover after that? It is the version with illustrations by John Tenniel. It is still on my bookshelf, a little battered and faded, with some reckless, childhood marginalia, which at the time I thought was a good addition. I treasure it.

The Bald Twit Lion, by Spike Milligan, illustrations by Carol Barker

The colour and depth of the illustrations still seems so vivid, and though we needed an explanation from mum, we loved the daftness of the jokes - the lion paints rabbits on his head so that from a distance they would look like hares (perhaps it works better as a spoken rather than written gag!)

The World’s Greatest Wonders, Odhams Press

This is a book that was given to me by an elderly gentleman I was visiting as a child. It is 300 or so pages of black and white book plates, the kind of beautiful half-tone images of books from the forties or fifties (there is no date.) It is divided into regions and shows pictures of architectural and geographical features. I love the flatness of the tone. And a sense of wonder is a precious thing to cultivate.

Birdy, by William Wharton

I read this in my early teens and was captivated by the exploration of a strange and different life. I still recall the terrible compassion I felt which was both saddening and uplifting - a feeling I have always loved when reading - a sense that we are being given the chance to see the difficulty, the beauty, the otherness of lives outside of our own.

Where Angels Fear to Tread, by E. M. Forster

Forster seemed to be in a constant struggle between a loving hope for humanity and pessimism about our chances. It is such a familiar feeling to me now and I wonder if it was shaped by my reading and re-reading of Forster when I was in my teens. All his books seem to say that, though we may be trapped by pettiness, we can fly, if only we can find the courage. I think this book is also the source of a life-long romantic idea I have about Italy.

King Lear, by William Shakespeare

This was one of my A level texts. I still cry every time I get to the part when Kent dies. The wonderful thing about Shakespeare is there is always a new angle, new things to find in the text. I have recently been thinking about Lear as the old man, bedecked with flowers, wandering the heath. I wonder if he wasn’t close to a kind of peace in some of those moments.

The Sea, The Sea, by Iris Murdoch

When I was an art student I shared a flat with Pierre. We lost touch for a long time, but he is now is my husband. He remembers me banging on about this (the book lover’s disease, right?) and, because of that, he read it once our paths had parted. I re-read it once our paths rejoined. A strange and wonderful read, slightly absurd but brilliant. The story itself has nothing to do with our relationship (thank goodness!) but the endurance of caring, and the rediscovery of it perhaps does.

The Wrench, by Primo Levi

I have chosen this book because it was the first of Levi’s that I read. His writing is so human, so humane. His body of work, for all the appalling content, the worst of lived experiences that it is possible to encounter, somehow makes me feel uplifted. Levi does not shield the reader but nor does he invite hate, cynicism or bitterness. He shows the appalling reality and still imparts a sense of simple wonder at what we can be.

The Emperor’s Babe, by Bernadine Evaristo

This is the story of Zuleika, a girl of Somali heritage in Roman London. The writing is beautiful, the story gripping and tragic, and the history true (we have always been a wonderfully diverse country.) I loved it.

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys, by Viv Albertine

I am a huge fan of The Slits - a bands that for me as a teenager, made sense of the world. This autobiography by guitarist Viv Albertine was fascinating, firstly for the light it shed on those early, wildly pioneering days that lead to such wonderful and original music. But also fascinating for the later section when, as a woman in her fifties, having shed her musical past so that it was almost a secret, she rediscovers the urge to play and sing. There is such beautiful courage in starting again, struggling, feeling hopeless but persisting. A really great read.

Life and Fate, by Vasily Grossman

Like Shakespeare, Grossman dissects the good and the bad, the complex messy in-between of humanity in this sprawling, wonderfully moving novel. I have always felt profoundly grateful for books that show us how we are, without flattery, the good and the bad. Written in the sixties, through the lives of ordinary Russians experiencing the siege of Leningrad, the concentration camps, and the ordinary appalling events of war, it is a damning critique of both Fascism and Communism. it was smuggled out of Russia in the seventies and published in the 1980s. A wonderful book that counters these atrocities by showing small acts of kindness, the gentle love of families, acts of bravery and courage. All of these tiny, individual gestures seem to offer a way to resist the barbarism of the system.

Mirror, Shoulder, Signal, by Dorthe Nors

I don’t know anything about this because I haven’t read it yet, but my life in books has to include all the wonderful books to come, and this one is next on my pile!

Lulu Allison has spent most of her life as a visual artist. She attended Central St Martin’s School of Art then spent a number of years travelling and living abroad. Amongst the bar-tending and cleaning jobs, highlights of these years include: in New Zealand, playing drums for King Loser and bass for Dimmer. In Germany, making spectacle hinges in a small factory and nearly designing the new Smurfs. In Amsterdam painting a landmark mural on a four storey squat. In Fiji and California, teaching scuba diving.
After a decade of wandering, she returned to the UK, where she had two children and focused on art. She completed a fine art MA and exhibited her lens-based work and site-specific installations in group and solo shows.
In 2013 what began as an art project took her into writing and she unexpectedly discovered what she should have been doing all along.
Twice the Speed of Dark is her first book. She is currently writing a second, called Wetlands.

Follow her on Twitter @LRAllison72 

No comments:

Post a Comment