Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What is P. S. Duffy reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: P. S. Duffy, author of The Cartographer of No Man's Land.

Her entry begins:
For the past week, I’ve been keeping company with Paul Chowder, a 55-year-old poet and the narrator of Nicholson Baker’s latest novel. I say “keeping company” because from the opening line, I felt Chowder (he refers to himself by last name) was writing me a personal letter. “Roz called me to ask what I wanted for my 55th birthday,” he begins, and I nod, as if Roz is territory Chowder and I have covered many times before. I say “novel” even though Baker, by his own unapologetic admission, makes little effort to ascribe a narrative arc to Chowder’s meandering days, observations of the ordinary, outrage at drone warfare, and riffs on music (musical notes “can be long or short, and in real life they are always bending up and down like flexible Claymation figures;” measures “are little aquariums of time in which the notes must forever swim”).

Ostensibly, Chowder is at a turning point—away from poetry toward writing protest songs—while simultaneously trying to...[read on]
About The Cartographer of No Man's Land, from the publisher:
From a hardscrabble village in Nova Scotia to the collapsing trenches of France, a debut novel about a family divided by World War I.

In the tradition of Robert Goolrick’s A Reliable Wife and Karl Marlantes’s Matterhorn, P. S. Duffy’s astonishing debut showcases a rare and instinctive talent emerging in midlife. Her novel leaps across the Atlantic, between a father at war and a son coming of age at home without him.

When his beloved brother-in-law goes missing at the front in 1916, Angus defies his pacifist upbringing to join the war and find him. Assured a position as a cartographer in London, he is instead sent directly into the visceral shock of battle. Meanwhile, at home, his son Simon Peter must navigate escalating hostility in a fishing village torn by grief. With the intimacy of The Song of Achilles and the epic scope of The Invisible Bridge, The Cartographer of No Man’s Land offers a soulful portrayal of World War I and the lives that were forever changed by it, both on the battlefield and at home.
Learn more about the book and author at P. S. Duffy's website.

Writers Read: P. S. Duffy.

--Marshal Zeringue