Friday 2 March 2018

A Blindefellows Chronicle by Auriel Roe @AurielRoe #RandomThingsTours #BlogTour #Blindefellow #MyLifeInBooks

At midday on 31st August, Sedgewick, the new history master, arrives at Blindefellows, former charity school for poor, blind boys, now a second division private school for anyone who can pay.  

The naïve newcomer is quickly taken under the wing of the rumbustious, philandering Japes, master of physics, who soon becomes something of a mentor, though not in an academic sense. 

A Blindefellows Chronicle follows the adventures of Sedgewick, Japes and a handful of other unmarried faculty at an obscure West Country boarding school including the closeted headmaster, Reverend Hareton, stalwart Matron Ridgeway and loathsome librarian, Fairchild.

A Blindefellows Chronicle by Auriel Roe was published in July last year. As part of the Blog Tour, I am delighted to welcome the author here to Random Things today. She's talking about the books that are special to her in My Life In Books

My Life in Books - Auriel Roe

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons - It's a shame that, after writing this, Gibbons turned to serious fiction as she had a real flair for comedy.  It is, in fact, the one she's remembered for.  CCF has everything - a penniless heroine, an Eliza Doolittle style make-over of her poor cousin Elfine into a lady of the manner, an absurd cast of characters existing in an archaic back water.  What fun! I love this book so much I paid homage to it in one of the chapters in my book, chapter title Cold Foot Farm

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw - Talking of Eliza Doolittle, this is another perfectly rounded comedy with women's rights and socialism at its heart.  I even published a student guide to it after I successfully directed it as a school play. Lots of witty exchanges - GBS was a noble rascal.  I decided to go on a pilgrimage to his house soon after falling in love with this play.  He used to work out in the garden in his rotatable writing hut and was able to justify not seeing his numerous impromptu visitor (mainly fans) by telling the housekeeper to say he was out.   

No Name by Wilkie Collins - This is one of my favourite books and I wish someone would make it into a film - the radio 4 adaptation is very good, however. It's a roller coaster adventure with an ingenious lead character who adopts one disguise after another in order to regain her rightful inheritance. A wonderfully written ripping yarn.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque - This is one of my favourite books and I wouldn't normally chose a war story for a novel to read. It's about a group of friends joining up in WW1 along with all the false optimism that goes with that at the start. There are moments of respite where they briefly regain their sanity, then it's back into the fray until there's not a man left standing. Beautifully written - every passage is a gem - reading it gave me a sudden and spontaneous urge to write 3 years ago, which led me to writing my first novel.

Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce - Magical, literally. Wonderful to read aloud to children. I missed out on it in my childhood but discovered and read to my children. Passages give a pleasing tingle down the spine. A boy whose life lacks meaning and excitement finds fulfilment in a mystical garden in a time warp. Everyone must read, whatever the age. 

Labels by Evelyn Waugh - I hadn't heard of this book with its unassuming title (still can't fully understand why it's called that). It was on the discarded from the library shelf as no one had taken it out for over ten years. This is Waugh's memoir of a big trip he made, mainly by boat, taking in much of the Middle East, North Africa, bits of Southern Europe passed on the way. He is travelling with a couple much of the time and they are well drawn and interesting characters, typically 1930s somehow. We also get to know the characters he encounters in his vivid descriptions of beggars, waiters, etc. For me, the best thing about it was that I knew so many of the places he stops in in my 15 years travelling as an international teacher.  It was interesting to hear about the landscapes and the general character of the people - so often they are very similar in the present, for example, the incessant selling of souvenirs in Port Said.  

Auriel Roe - February 2018 

Blindefellows is my first published novel and is the result of a few years' worth of quirky scribblings in a stack of notebooks. I wrote the novel I always wanted to read but couldn't find, partially inspired by my favourite authors, Stella Gibbons, PG Wodehouse and Evelyn Waugh.
In addition to my writing, I am also an artist, from ram-sized pugs to sedate still life.
I add a small observation and image to my blog on a daily basis, which can be found on my website :
Follow me on Twitter @AurielRoe

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