Thursday, June 06, 2019

Six works that remind us of the roots of violence in history

Karen Lord has been a physics teacher, diplomat, part-time soldier, and academic. She is now a writer and research consultant, BSc, MSc, MPhil, PhD. Her novella Redemption in Indigo won the Frank Collymore Literary Award and the William L. Crawford Award, among others. Her novel The Best of All Possible Worlds won the Frank Collymore Literary Award, RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, and Locus Awards Best Science Fiction Novel. She has been nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Her new novel is Unraveling.

At CrimeReads she tagged six works that warn us to seek the roots of violence in history, including:
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

Published in 1961, this slender book by Scottish writer Muriel Spark is set in the 1930s between the aftermath of the First World War and the approaching shadow of the Second. Miss Jean Brodie is a teacher in her prime—unconventional in her methods, an admirer of Fascism, and possessing a worrying degree of influence over those pupils she wishes to make into the ‘crème de la crème’. We learn from the beginning that Miss Brodie was betrayed by one of her favorite pupils. As the story flashes forward and back in the lives of the girls and their teacher, we eventually find out who did it, and see what made her decide that it was time to put a stop to Miss Jean Brodie.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is among Meg Wolitzer’s ten desert island books, E. Lockhart's five top books about women labeled “difficult”, Adam Ehrlich Sachs's top ten funny books, Sebastian Faulks's six favorite books, Stuart Husband's top ten fictional teachers, Rachel Cooke's top ten spinsters, Karin Altenberg's top ten books about betrayal, Megan Abbott's five most dangerous mentors in fiction, the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five top books on teaching and learning and Ian Rankin's six best books. Miss Jean Brodie is one of John Mullan's ten best teachers in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue