Tuesday, May 08, 2012

What is Yvvette Edwards reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Yvvette Edwards, author of A Cupboard Full of Coats.

Her entry begins:
I should probably start by confessing I am something of a latecomer to the love of short stories. It started about a year ago, with Courttia Newland’s A Book of Blues, an eclectic collection of stories inspired by love and music, which danced a journey across pages that swept from London’s Portobello Road to the beaches of Nairobi, through the hot bush of Malindi via packed Miami bars. I discovered there is something quite lovely about the form, that it is a genuine skill to be able to conjure authentic characters, to evoke a vivid landscape, to capture a complete world in a limited number of words. It’s a discipline that I, as a novelist, have never had to concern myself with, but recently I have found myself thankful there are writers who do.

Chinua Achebe, one of my favourite writers, has said it is the writer's duty ‘to explore in depth the human condition.’ I like to think this is something I have brought to my own novel, A Cupboard Full of Coats, a story about the transgenerational impact of domestic violence. In my opinion, if a story does nothing for every reader, if there is no gain to be had from the reading, no lesson gleaned or learned, no preconception challenged or shifted, I can hardly see the point in the writing at all. Uwem Akpan understands this, and his collection of short stories, Say You’re One of Them, is at once one of the most powerful, challenging, perception-changing books I have ever read.

In Say You’re One of Them, Akpan gives voice to Africa’s children in horrifying circumstances, whose plight, their daily struggle for life on any terms, is virtually inconceivable to most. His...[read on]
About A Cupboard Full of Coats, from the publisher:
Soon the name on every fiction lover’s lips will be Yvvette Edwards, thanks to her extraordinary debut novel, A Cupboard Full of Coats. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, one of Great Britain’s most prestigious literary awards, and named one of Kirkus Review’s Best Books of the Year, Edwards’s powerful first novel is at once a poignant family drama and a gripping mystery—page-turning literature with an exhilarating infusion of noir. It is the story of Jinx, who believes she played a pivotal role in her mother’s murder, until an old acquaintance appears at her door with seductive air, a long, strange story, and, quite possibly, the bitter truth. A truly stunning work of contemporary literary fiction that packs an emotional punch and keeps readers guessing to the end, A Cupboard Full of Coats is already being compared by critics to the novels of the master, Ruth Rendell.
Learn more about A Cupboard Full of Coats, and visit Yvvette Edwards's Facebook page.

Writers Read: Yvvette Edwards.

--Marshal Zeringue