By R.J. Harlick
Which book have you read that makes you wish you could sit down for a gab fest with the writer, living or dead?
Or, I could try the 1970s and fly over to Scotland to visit Dorothy Dunnett in her Edinburgh home. We could chat about her complex anti-hero Francis Crawford of the Lymond Chronicles, one of the most complicated characters ever created in fiction. I would also hope that she would show me the latest portrait she was painting.
It would be great fun to zoom back further in time to Tsarist Russia in the 1880’s. I would take a horse drawn carriage to Yasnaya Polyana to chat with Leo Tolstoy, if his wife, Sophia, would let me. I would want to talk about War and Peace and Anna Karenina, but more likely he would insist on expounding on his beliefs in nonviolent resistance to evil.
Somerset Maugham would be fun to visit at his villa on Cap Ferrat, if only to see what the French Riviera was like in the 1930s. Perhaps he would invite me to one of his literary salons and we could talk about his travels to the Far East and South Seas on which many of his short stories and novels, including the Paul Gaughan inspired Moon and Sixpence were based.
Lastly, I would return to Canada to visit a house that intrigued me as a child growing up in North Toronto. I knew something exotic and mysterious was hidden behind the high stone fence and line of trees. Years later I learned the house belonged to Mazo de la Roche. Behind those stone walls she created the world of Jalna that kept the reading world enthralled in the pre and post war years. A reclusive person, I would hope she would invite me in for tea and take me on a tour of her large property showing me the special places where she got her inspiration.
I could name many more authors whose books have intrigued me enough to want to learn more about the author, but I will leave those for another time.
Which authors would you like to get to know?