Monday, June 29, 2015

Louis de Bernières: ‘I’m kind of a narratological imperialist, I suppose’

The author on the ease of storytelling, his new novel – based on his grandmother’s experience of the first world war – and hallucinogenic snails

Writers at festival
'I've been working on this book for 20 years': Louis de Bernières. Photograph: Murdo Macleod
Louis de Bernières is the author of 11 books, including the bestselling novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. The Dust That Falls from Dreams is his eighth novel, and was inspired by the story of his grandmother’s first fiance, who died of wounds sustained in the first world war.

Tell me about the genesis of The Dust That Falls from Dreams.
I’ve been writing and planning little bits and pieces of it for 20 years. I hope it’s going to end up as three volumes, which can be read separately. It’s part of a huge project – I’ve already written the last chapter of the last book.

In my family we’ve always been rather obsessed with our own history, and if you’ve got a story given to you on a plate then it’s too good to pass over. But it’s not a family history – I’ve just used basic scaffolding: the fact that my grandmother lost her fiance in 1915, which altered the course of her life.


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