Posts Tagged ‘Gothic horror’

The Taxidermist’s Daughter

October 17, 2014
Kate Mosse books

Kate Mosse books

Kate Mosse book signing

Kate Mosse book signing

We will each write a ghost story. — Lord Byron

I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. — Mary Shelley

A natural story teller.

Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel are based on historical fact set in France, important to get the historical facts right, which necessitates a lot of research.

In France, Kate Mosse unknown, thus known for what she was, a writer. She had written books before, but only family had read. To see people, strangers, reading Labyrinth, was a delight.

Writers, write to be read. They want to share their thoughts with others.

The Taxidermist’s Daughter was an interlude, a pleasant break. A thriller, a Gothic thriller, no need to check facts.

A Gothic thriller in the mould of The Castle of Otranto, The Mysteries of Udolpho, The Monk, Frankenstein, Dracula.

You cannot understand or appreciate Northanger Abbey, without having read Ann Radcliffe. It is also self-referential with her gullible heroine, Catherine Morland, being handed a copy of The Mysteries of Udolpho to read. The original is vastly superior to its parody.

There is currently an exhibition of Gothic literature at the British Library.

The Taxidermist’s Daughter is set in Sussex, gloomy marshland, a river estuary, very much the setting found in The Moonstone. The seed, the gem of an idea, a museum, no longer there, in Arundel.

What are ghosts, are they something out there, or something within us? Or maybe both but we have tried to rationalise out of existence?

Odd, some readers want to know what happens to characters after the end of a book.

Kate Mosse stressed the importance of supporting indy bookshops. Ironic then Guildford Book Festival has ditched One Tree Books and this year the Festival book supplier was WHSmith. A High Street chain that does nothing for books, hated and despised by book lovers.

One Tree Books used to have a wonderful display of books in the Electric Theatre during the book festival, you could talk to them about books. Sadly not WHSmith. They could not even be bothered to mount a display in their own bookshop. Nor was there any mention of the book festival in their stores in neighbouring towns.

WHSmith a huge mistake. Hopefully not to be repeated next year. Or if is, buy your books elsewhere and bring them along for signing.

Amazon often get the blame for killing off indy bookshops. It is not Amazon. It is chains like WHSmith, that not only destroy indy bookshops, but also destroy our town centres.

WHSmith is to books, what McDonald’s and KFC is to food and Costa and Starbucks is to coffee.

Indy bookshops need our support. Guildford Book Festival should be setting the example.

Guildford Book Festival 12-19 October 2014 at venues in and around Guildford.

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